Speaking to residents in Dobsonville, Soweto as part of his Power to the People tour yesterday, Maimane said: “If anyone has an illegal ID, they must come and explain to South Africa how they got it.
“We are not saying we are fighting non-South Africans, we are simply saying non-South Africans must be legally registered and their businesses must follow the same due process as any other South African business.
“When people get IDs and register illegally, that puts communities under stress.”
Maimane’s comments came in the wake of the looting of shops owned by foreigners in several areas in Gauteng late last month.
Maimane stressed, however, foreigners were not the enemy.
“The enemy is unemployment, poverty and inequality,” he said. “The ultimate enemies are those who put forward policies that do not help us grow the economy. Those are the ones who have hijacked South Africa for their own benefit.”
Maimane said corruption had increased under President Jacob Zuma’s administration.
“Instead of him fighting corruption, he fights those who are fighting corruption,” said Maimane. He claimed Zuma wanted to fire suspended Hawks boss Anwa Dramat and national director of public prosecutions head Mxolisi Nxasana because he did not want them to fight corruption.
“He is now investigating Nxasana at the National Prosecuting Authority because he knows Nxasana knows what happened at Nkandla was the instruction of the president,” said Maimane. “Zuma is stealing the future of South Africa. He is a thief.”
He slammed Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu for saying foreigners were living in South Africa as a “courtesy” and needed to share their secrets.
“Minister Zulu forms part of the government that has no plan to assist small businesses,” said Maimane. “She has failed the small business of this country and now she is turning her attention in the wrong area.”
AfriBusiness CEO Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg said the violence against foreigners and their shops in Soweto was typical of a growing spirit of envy towards poor people who uplifted themselves economically.
“Minister Zulu’s call for tighter regulations and control of foreign businesses, and her ultimatum to retailers to disclose their trade secrets, highlights the growing intolerance of small entrepreneurs.” said Van Rensburg.
Van Rensburg said Zulu should rather insist ANC cadres “share their trade secrets, or rather their secret trades, with the public”.
“With her remarks she smothers all possibilities of a dynamic entrepreneurial class among the poor. She is inciting hate speech and xenophobia.”