Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has condemned the recent looting of small businesses in the City of Tshwane “in the strongest possible terms”.
“It is totally unacceptable and works against the interests of the country,” she said in a statement on Sunday.
The violence, destruction of property, and various acts of criminality directed at foreign traders could not be tolerated in a democratic society, she said.
Furthermore, looting and destruction of local and foreign national owned shops and other small businesses reversed the gains government had been making to harmonise relationships between local and traders of foreign origin.
It also undermined the efforts of government, her department specifically, to strengthen small businesses in collective efforts to create jobs and improve the socio-economic conditions of communities.
“On what basis will people be prepared to become entrepreneurs when their investments can go up in smoke for no fault of theirs,” Zulu said.
“I wish to commend the police for doing their best to deal with an extremely difficult and volatile situation. We urge our law-enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned to save life and limb and to restore calm and stability in the area.”
Zulu said she was satisfied with government and the department’s efforts in dealing with the violence in line with the government decisions of the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on migration.
“We are confident that our law-enforcement agencies will continue to deal firmly against these anarchists and destructionists. We call upon those who call themselves community leaders to refrain from mobilising members of the public against foreign traders for their own selfish interests.”
She was concerned that the ongoing intimidation of small business owners and destruction of small businesses would discourage entrepreneurs to establish new businesses, and thus undermine efforts to build a nation of entrepreneurs and job creators.
“Working together we can change the course of direction for a better South Africa,” Zulu said.
– African News Agency (ANA)