BUSA blasts 'xenophobic undercurrent' to attacks on businesses, plans meeting with police minister

Business lobby group Business Unity SA says it hopes to meet with Minister of Police Bheki Cele "at his earliest convenience" to discuss a coordinated response to the wave of attacks on businesses in Gauteng.

In a statement on Tuesday, BUSA President Sipho Pityana said the group was "gravely concerned at the increase in random attacks of violence against businesses, big and small, in Johannesburg and Tshwane".

"We want to explore ways in which we can stamp out this current wave of lawlessness and attacks on business and traders," said Pityana.

"It is tragic to see small businesses – whose owners have invested their entire lives in their trade – go up in smoke because of attacks and looting. Whether it is a single owner spaza shop, a family business in the inner city or a supermarket truck carrying food, these attacks are unjustified and cannot be tolerated."

As News24 is reporting, police in Gauteng remain are on high alert following violent protests and widespread looting across Gauteng. The violence has caused the government of Nigeria to say it will take "definitive measures to ensure safety and protection" of her citizens.

Pityana said on Tuesday it was "deeply disturbing to see a racist and xenophobic undercurrent to some of the attacks".

"… [I]t is clear that we all need to do more to build tolerance and social cohesion – particularly given that many of the people feeling the brunt of these attacks are providing a much-needed service to communities," he said.

He added that while the attacks may appear random, it is "increasingly clear that people are taking advantage of the situation and waging war on our economy."

Business Leadership SA, another business lobby group, said on Tuesday it condemned "in the strongest possible terms the events of the past few days in Tshwane, Johannesburg and on the N3 highway where foreign businesses and foreign nationals have been attacked". 

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