While the situation was calm in Gauteng on Wednesday, looting continued in parts of KwaZulu-Natal province. People in areas like Durban already had food shortages.
The looting of shops, burning of trucks, and destruction of property could discourage potential investors from investing in South Africa and worsen food insecurity.
"The Minerals Council South Africa condemns the acts of violence and looting that have been spreading through various parts of the country. We are deeply concerned about the loss of life," said the council's spokesperson Charmane Russell on Wednesday.
The destruction of assets and the consequent impact on livelihoods will have devastating consequences and will interrupt the hard-won vaccination roll-out.
"And the images of mayhem playing across screens in South Africa and abroad will have a lasting impact in discouraging investment," he added and called for the protection of key infrastructure, particularly power, telecommunications, water, road, and rail which would assist in the economic recovery.
Meanwhile, worries about food security in the country are also mounting during the unrest. Agri SA Executive Director Christo van der Rheede warned that if the unrest that has claimed at least 72 lives is not dealt with urgently, losses in the agricultural sector could be running into billions next week.
While the situation was calm in Gauteng on Wednesday, certain parts of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) were still on fire, with looting ongoing. People in areas such as Durban were already short of food.
"KZN is a major producer of foods like sugar and banana. Some sugar cane farms have been burnt down over the last five days," van der Rheede said, adding that farmers could not even export their produce due to the unrest which began over former president Jacob Zuma's jailing.
"Exporting products to the rest of the world at the Durban harbor has come to a halt," van der Rheede said, farmers have also stopped harvesting citrus due to the situation. Shortages of fuel were being felt too.
On Wednesday, State Security Deputy Minister Zizi Kodwa said that this was planned economic sabotage. The instigators are sitting somewhere trying to destabilize this country.
“That is why they are cutting distribution and supply,” he said. "They want people to have no bread".
Ex-President Zuma was sentenced to a 15-month jail term in June for defying a Constitutional Court order to give evidence at an inquiry investigating corruption during his nine years in office until 2018. Television footage and videos shared on social media show rioters making off with big-screen TVs and stripping cars at a vehicle dealership of their engines and wheels.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday evening that some 489 suspects in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces had been arrested and all government agencies had been mobilized.