Kaizer Nyatsumba, the chief executive of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa. Photo: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – Kaizer Nyatsumba, the chief executive of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has called upon the government, business leaders, labour representatives and the public to join hands and get involved in various efforts to reverse the many ills confronting South Africa including high unemployment, poverty, xenophobic attacks as well as violence against women and children.

Nyatsumba was speaking at Seifsa’s 5th Annual Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton. He said as a country South Africa needed to face up to the challenge that the country was dangerously close to tipping over, “unless we fold our shirt sleeves and put shoulder to the wheel”.

“In any society, this is way too important a task to leave to politicians alone. It is even worse in our case, where a growing number of politicians are exposed in various forms almost on a weekly basis to be self-serving individuals who worry only about themselves, their families and their political parties, with the country coming stone last,” said Nyatsumba.

South Africa's business community on Monday condemned the xenophobic attacks that had 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.”

Nyatsumba said amid the state that South Africa found itself in, it appeared as though leaders had either gone to ground or were too pre-occupied with their internecine conflicts and sundry machinations.

“This is why we cannot leave the mammoth tasks of growing the economy, creating employment, fighting the scourge of xenophobia and protecting women to political leaders. It would, in fact, be very irresponsible of us, as business and labour leaders, to stick our necks in the sand and pretend as though everything is hunky-dory,” he said.

Nyatsumba said he believed that South Africa could be saved provided the government, business, labour and the general public worked together.