Most ok with foreign businesses: Survey

By Drum Digital
13 July 2012

Most South Africans believe foreigners should be allowed to run their spaza shops in the country, a new survey has revealed.

"Around 44 percent felt foreigners should be stopped from running spaza shops, compared to 46 percent saying they should be allowed to stay, with 10 percent undecided," the researchers said.

The survey was conducted by Pondering Panda among 5641 adult South African nationals from different demographic groups.

It showed men were more negative towards foreign-owned businesses than women.

"About 48 percent of men felt that foreign run spazas should be stopped, compared to 40 percent of women," stated the researchers.

People of different age groups held different opinions on the matter, with most older respondents rejecting foreign-owned businesses.

"About 54 percent of those aged 35 years and older were negatively disposed, compared to 43 percent of those aged between 18 and 24. Negative perceptions were uniform across racial groups."

Foreign-owned spaza shops were mostly rejected in the Western Cape and North West provinces.

According to the survey, negative feedback was also largely collected from poorer respondents.

Pondering Panda spokesman Butch Rice said this was probably due to resentment.

"The findings of this survey confirm that we are facing a very real threat of xenophobia," said Rice.

Just this week alone, several spaza shops belonging to foreigners living in the Western Cape were looted and torched.

"Given the relatively high percentage of people opposed to foreigners running spaza shops the violence can be expected to continue, unless the authorities take decisive action," said Rice.

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