During July’s unrest, many shops and malls were vandalised and emptied. A large number were destroyed in KZN and areas of Gauteng following the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma. Shops were looted as an act of criminality and targeted strikes, although a large percentage of people engaging in activities were doing so out of an already desperate standing point, exacerbated by existing rates of unemployment, inequality and the devastating socio-economic impact that the COVID lockdown has had on the country’s most vulnerable. In Cape Town, residents and civil society organisations safeguarded shopping malls in areas such as Philippi and Nyanga in the event that the violence could spread to other provinces.