The rapid escalation of strikes and protests into violence and looting is an issue that Cedric Masondo wishes he understood more clearly. He is the MD of the South African Special Risks Insurance Association (Sasria), which pays out insurance claims after businesses are burned, shops are trashed and trains torched by angry protesters. "The nature of our insurance is man-made catastrophes. In our society sometimes mob mentality dictates that people will do things that they will not do when they are on their own," Masondo says. "It’s a sad reality that when people want to make a point, they damage property. What’s worrying here [in SA] is the frequency … here it’s become day to day, with roads being blocked and cars damaged." Sasria’s payouts rose 31% in 2016, largely because students trashed campuses in the #FeesMustFall campaign. Of the R766m claimed for the 2017 financial year, student protests accounted for R325m, or 42%. Sasria was created in 1979 in response to the 1976 student ...

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