Pepkor steps up to assist communities after civil unrest in South Africa
Pepkor has made significant strides in its recovery of affected operations since the civil unrest experienced last month. The group expects to have more than 350 of the more than 500 looted stores up and running by the end of September.
This is following the announcement that around 10% of the group’s total store footprint experienced varying degrees of damage. The business has turned its focus and commitment to the rebuilding of its stores in the affected areas and is proud to be part of these efforts where the mutual support and resilience of South Africans are so well exhibited.
“The initial assessment phase has been completed and we are working with multiple suppliers to secure the necessary stock, equipment, IT infrastructure and other materials to reopen our stores. During a normal year, we open 300 new stores. Now, added to our standard new store opening schedule, we are reopening more than 350 stores in approximately two months with the remainder of the stores to be opened before December. The reopening of the remaining stores will be delayed due to circumstances outside our control such as structural damages to the properties,” explains Leon Lourens, CEO of Pepkor.
“The teams in our operating companies are working around the clock to make this happen as quickly as possible. Our primary objective is to get back to serving the customers in these communities and making their lives easier and better.”
The Pepkor supply chain is again fully operational and deliveries to our footprint of more than 5 000 stores are back to normal. “It is pleasing to see that our supply chain is back at full capacity and credit goes to our internal recovery teams who have worked tirelessly to make this possible,” says Lourens.
As part of Pepkor’s recovery efforts, the group is doing its best to provide job security and continue salary payments to the thousands of employees who were impacted.
“We were able to get emergency relief to our employees within one week of the unrest. This included delivery of 5 667 food parcels and I am extremely grateful that we have the means to assist our loyal employees so that they can provide for their families,” said Lourens.
“As a business whose key priority is to serve their millions of loyal customers and make a positive difference in their lives, we accept our responsibility towards the local communities and more than R3.5 million has been donated to support affected employees and surrounding communities, including a donation of 70 tonnes of maize meal,” he added.
The group has continued to collaborate with the Do More Foundation in KwaZulu-Natal which focuses on providing meals to the children and vulnerable people of this region. Customers can also contribute to the group’s food relief efforts by donating in-store at the tills.
“It is our courageous, agile and resilient teams who have played a fundamental role in our recovery and rebuilding process during this challenging time. The long hours and commitment these individuals have shown demonstrates the calibre of our people and the healthy culture of our business,” says Lourens. “Our focus is now to rebuild and restore so that we can continue to make a positive difference in the lives of our customers and communities.”
Supplied by: Pepkor.