Police Minister Bheki Cele addressing the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the recent spate of violence in and around Johannesburg and other parts of Gauteng. PHOTO: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa's business community on Monday condemned the xenophobic attacks which have spread across Johannesburg and other parts of Gauteng.

Police Minister Bheki Cele met with business executives from among others MultiChoice, Vodacom, MTN, as well as the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci), to discuss how the spate of violence has affected the country’s economy. 

Sacci president Mtho Xulu said the organisation would work hand in hand with government to monitor the situation. 

“We, as the chamber, condemn the violence. We want to caution against these attacks which are shortsighted to destroy businesses.”

MTN Group chief executive Rob Shuter said the mobile network operated in 17 African countries, with more than 200 million customers. He added that as a result of the recent violence and attacks, four retail stores in Nigeria have closed as well as the head office. 

“MTN Group is owned almost 50 percent by international investors and so there we will have now a whole other topic to discuss, already on top of other complexities of doing business in these markets.”

Cele said police had a plan of action which he could not disclose and urged the media to stop spreading the narrative that the Nigerian President would be coming to the country because this was a crisis. 

“In a few weeks, the Nigerian president will be in South Africa on a state visit. This decision was taken last year and people are sending out the wrong narrative. He was coming anyway.”

Cele also said that 639 arrests had been made and were not based on a person’s nationality but rather on alleged illegal acts.  

African News Agency (ANA)