Jan 1, 2018
The July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng came just as the South African economy was starting to lift its head after the restrictive Covid-19 lockdowns, which first brought the economy to a standstill and then kept it barely ticking over for the rest of the two years they were in place.
The riots were preceded by attacks on trucks on the N3, with the chief executive of Business Unity South Africa, Cas Coovadia, testifying at the SA Human Rights Commission hearings into the riots that the unrest didn’t start in July.
“We believe it started months before when we had the problem of trucks burning, and we believe that what this – the July unrest – was a frontal attack on the entire supply value chain of the country,” Coovadia said, adding that it was clear that the intention was to destroy major infrastructure.
In the end, the damage to the freight and logistics industry was frighteningly high. By August 2021 it was estimated that about 250 trucks had been destroyed in the riots, amounting to a R500 million loss in assets and cargo. Trucking companies, meanwhile, suffered further losses because they were unable to operate, which meant a loss of earnings to them and a loss of salaries to their staff.
The insurer responsible for covering damages because of riots is Sasria, which provides special risk cover to all individuals and businesses that own assets in South Africa. It offers unique cover against risks such as public disorder, strikes and terrorism. Unfortunately, as we know all too well in South Africa, the risk for damage stemming from such events is extremely high.
Because of the nature of the July riots, Sasria has had to cover the losses that industries, including freight and logistics, suffered. It has subsequently said that the riots were some of the most expensive in the world. In total, i.e. not just the trucking industry, Sasria received claims of about R37 billion in the wake of the riots. By late April 2022, it said it had paid about 62% of these claims, with R14 billion still outstanding. It blamed insufficient information from especially smaller businesses for the delay in paying these claims.
Which is why Trucksurance’s managing director, Locke Purdon, says it is crucial that you regularly review your insurance cover and ensure all your paperwork is updated and readily available.
“We always recommend our clients take Sasria cover because we all know the perils inherent to running a fleet in South Africa in terms of unrest and violence targeting or spreading to the industry,” says Locke. “Trucksurance has an excellent relationship with Sasria, and we were able to leverage that to ensure our clients’ claims were paid out fairly easily and quickly after the riots.”
Locke says it’s important to cover both your immoveable and moveable assets such as property and trucks, which are likely to be bank-financed. You would therefore be liable for paying the loans on them even if they are lost owing to damage or destruction.
“And don’t forget Sasria’s insurance for business interruption,” Locke adds. “Although this is quite limited insurance that won’t cover, for example, interruption owing to problems with damage your supplier suffered, it does allow for cover of your gross profit, net profit and working expenses.”