The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development, Ms Ruth Bhengu, has condemned violence directed at foreign business owners in Soweto.
“There has to be a way to integrate foreign nationals to the township economy, especially the spazas, without creating an impression to a township dweller that there is a total takeover,” Ms Bhengu said.
“Parliament, government and all peace loving South Africans should unanimously condemn the criminal acts (by locals) in Soweto as well as those foreign nationals perpetuate. At the same time something needs to be done about local spaza owners being systemically driven out of business,” she said.
Police have reportedly arrested 121 people in connection with the violence and looting of shops operated by foreign nationals in Soweto. The flare up allegedly follows a killing of a 14 year-old boy by a foreign national on Wednesday.
Ms Bhengu said foreign nationals should not be competition to the locals, particularly because this is one area that the country could exploit in alleviating poverty and create jobs, in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP).
“In the age of globalisation, people, least of all Sowetans, cannot act this savagely. Contact with foreign-owned businesses should be such that concepts as capital accumulation, savings culture, customer relations and stock accountability are enhanced. These are all traits that the country’s developmental stage requires,” she said.
“South Africa’s way out of poverty is through a g and sustainable small business sector, with a well developed savings culture. The concept of small business enterprises should be encouraged with emphasis highly placed on integration,” she said.
She called on law enforcement agencies to act decisively on all criminal activity associated with the latest Soweto flare up.
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Source : Parliament of South Africa