Community organisation Zwelihle Renewal had called on residents to send them the details of businesses "that are employing more foreign nationals than locals, exploiting foreign nationals, discriminatory and/or not complying with the labour laws of the country". File picture: Sisonke Mlamla / Cape Argus
Community organisation Zwelihle Renewal had called on residents to send them the details of businesses "that are employing more foreign nationals than locals, exploiting foreign nationals, discriminatory and/or not complying with the labour laws of the country". File picture: Sisonke Mlamla / Cape Argus

Hermanus businesses granted interdict to halt mass protest

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jul 9, 2019

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Cape Town – The Whale Coast Business and Community Forum and affected businesses in Hermanus have been granted an urgent court order to interdict the Zwelihle community from embarking on a four-day protest from today.

The march against alleged unethical employment policies and practices of many businesses was to have started at the Zwelihle taxi rank at 7am and continue until 5pm each day.

Community organisation Zwelihle Renewal had called on residents to send them the details of businesses "that are employing more foreign nationals than locals, exploiting foreign nationals, discriminatory (practices) and/or not complying with the labour laws of the country", the Cape Argus reported.

"We are not going to promote any form of discrimination or exclusion of human beings nor stand by and watch people perpetuate racism and promote xenophobia. We believe that we will have one Hermanus, a united Hermanus," said Zwelihle Renewal (ZR), which is led by Gcobani Ndzongana.

"The list of intimidated businesses as well as the Whale Coast Business and Community Forum would like to place the following on record regarding the latest calls for intimidation and mass protest in Hermanus, as circulated by ZR, Gcobani Ndzongana and others," executive members of the Whale Coast Business and Community said in a statement on confirming the court interdict on Tuesday. 

"We will do everything within the confines of the law to protect our businesses, staff and our reputations. The threats of mass protest action from a self-appointed group in town against legitimate businesses will not be taken lightly. 

"The group of unemployed individuals’ assumption that labour issues, unfair business practises and other related issues exist is based on false accusations. 

"One example of how disconnected they are from the real facts as an example is a business with a 35-member workforce. This business only has one foreign national employed and with a valid work permit. The company’s union has also distanced itself from the false accusations. 

"One must not forget that the targeted businesses are 90% tourism related and thus effectively they are trying to create more and more unemployment in order to be relevant. 

"How can you for one minute think that marching to businesses will create work when the same businesses are economically affected by such actions. 

"The agenda to try and damage Hermanus and its image will unfortunately not go down as the businesses will pursue all legal action against the instigators and the organisations supporting them. 

"Organisations who fall victim to any intimidation or any illegal actions are welcome to join the movement of putting the facts straight. 

"We intend to further consult our appointed legal team to investigate legal action based on the reputational damage and utterances made by individuals and groups regarding our businesses. 

"We would also like to gather factual evidence from businesses who have suffered due to the protest and other actions in the past and current. The Whale Coast Business and Community Forum will pursue alternative legal actions to mitigate or litigate such perpetrators. 

Businesses are the lifeline for the whole community. Hermanus businesses will now start actively countering the baseless accusations and intimidation focused on them and their staff…

"We would furthermore also like to place it on record that we will be submitting a list to SAPS of individuals or an organisation whom we will restrict from all access to our businesses. No longer will a few individuals frequent any business with the intention of damaging the brand of such a business. 

"The Whale Coast Business and Community Forum also laid a charge with the South African Police Service regarding intimidation and inciting violence based on utterances by some of these instigators. We would like to request the South African Police services to investigate the matter as soon as possible. 

"Finally, we would like to thank the businesses and community for standing by us in these turbulent times. Our staff are a testament to the ills that have gone on in Hermanus for far too long and intimidation will not be tolerated."

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