Johannesburg – Clicks on Monday said that it could not give in to demands by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to close its 800 stores, especially during tough economic times when staff needed their jobs.
The retailer has come under fire and was forced to close 425 of its stores on Monday after outlets were attacked by EFF members venting their anger over a racist advert published on the company’s website.
The advert called black hair “dry, damaged, dull and frizzy”, in comparison to white hair, which was labelled as “normal”.
The company has since apologised and explained that the ad was created by TRESemme.
Clicks CEO Vikesh Ramsunder said that while he understood the rage by South Africans over their racist ad, he did not think that any well-functioning democracy could find what happened to their stores acceptable.
Ramsunder added that they would not buckle under the EFF’s pressure.
“We live in a democracy and we have the rule of law here. And we cannot concede to a political party threatening us not to open our stores, particularly at a time like this when there is a scarcity of jobs [and] the economy is in trouble. We are a healthcare service provider and we have to service our customers,” he said.
As the EFF vows to continue with its attack approach, Clicks said that it was working with police to ensure the safety of staff and its customers.
Meanwhile, EFF leader Julius Malema has told EFF members to be ready to attack any Clicks store that opens on Tuesday morning following the retailers racist advert.