Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) will be meeting with Police Minister Bheki Cele at his earliest convenience to discuss a coordinated response to the wave of attacks on businesses that have taken place in recent days.
“We are gravely concerned at the increase in random attacks of violence against businesses, big and small, in Johannesburg and Tshwane,” said BUSA President Sipho Pityana. “We want to explore ways in which we can stamp out this current wave of lawlessness and attacks on business and traders.
“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.
“It Is also deeply disturbing to see a racist and xenophobic under-current to some of the attacks, and it 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.”
Pityana welcomed Cele’s decision to deploy more police to patrol affected areas but added that a more intelligence-driven approach was needed.
“These attacks may look random and uncoordinated, but it is increasingly clear that people are taking advantage of the situation and waging war on our economy. They must be identified, through cooperation with communities, and the police must act with impunity to put these attacks to a stop.
“We urge all South Africans to do what they can to help. They should report people who are planning and executing crime, and must not hesitate to protect lives, property and livelihoods.
“These attacks send a terrible signal at a time when we should all be pulling together to make our economy stronger, to make our country a safe place to live, and to ensure that South Africans are seen as welcoming investment, commerce and a respect for human life and property.”