EFF gives Unilever 24 hours to 'explain itself'


The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has written to Unilever CEO Alan Jope and given the company 24 hours to explain its recent TRESemme advert, which caused outrage after being published on Clicks' website.

The letter from the party's secretary-general, Marshall Dlamini, dated 9 September, states that it seeks answers, in the interest of accountability, after being informed by Clicks that the advert was commissioned by the entity on its website.

Dlamini said in the letter: "Should we not receive a response within 24 hours, we will take the most robust action against TRESemme, with no further notice."

Unilever had on Friday issued an apology on its website, saying it got it wrong.

"We are looking into how this happened and why it wasn't picked up, and we will take all necessary steps to make sure it doesn't happen again," its statement read.

Meanwhile, the EFF will meet with Clicks' management, led by CEO Vikesh Ramsunder, on Thursday, it said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

The meeting will take place on Thursday at the EFF's headquarters in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

The meeting comes after three days of protest action at the retail group's stores following the publishing of TRESemmé's advert on Clicks' website last Friday.

The advertisement caused outraged after it depicted images of white women's hair as "fine and flat", while that of black women as "dry and damaged".

The retailer has since apologised for the advert.

Unilever has also apologised for the advert, saying the marketing campaign was set out to celebrate the beauty of all hair types and the range of solutions the product offers.

"The images are not in line with the values of our brand, or of Clicks. TRESemmé South Africa apologises for the offence these images have caused. We also apologise to the Clicks group."

EFF members, including its president, Julius Malema, have been protesting outside the stores.

"It is important to note that the peaceful protests of the EFF will continue across all Clicks outlets as planned on 10 September 2020.

"We encourage all members and ground forces to maintain the highest level of discipline as we continue to defend the dignity of black people," the EFF said in the statement.

In a media update on Wednesday evening, Clicks said stores across the country will reopen for trading on Thursday – with contingency plans in place to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

Various retailers, including the Shoprite group and Pick n Pay, have since removed TRESemmé products from their stores.

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