Motau’s ANC cadres group implores business to employ locals as a ’national duty’
Johannesburg - Retired SANDF General Maomane “Mojo” Motau’s ANC cadres group has implored business and institutions to employ locals as a “national duty”.
It also wants foreigners to close their businesses and leave South Africa within 90 days to give the country a chance to solve its internal problems.
In a document tabled before the ANC national working committee (NWC), the party’s operational arm, the group said the governing party’s leadership under President Cyril Ramaphosa must make way for a national task team (NTT) because it suffered from a legitimacy crisis and was controlled by “their invisible masters”.
The document, titled “ANC TURNAROUND STRATEGY 2025: CHANGING THE COURSE OF HISTORY”, was discussed at several meetings between the group and the ANC national leadership over the past few weeks.
Its release comes weeks after the Gauteng government tabled a draft bill which aimed to ban foreigners from operating businesses in the townships.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe referred the Sunday Independent to remarks made by party national chairperson Gwede Mantashe at a virtual media briefing this week.
Mantashe said the ANC, in principle, had no problem with the ANC cadres’ broad analysis of the balance of forces globally and domestically even though they were “superficial”.
However, many of the analyses of the ANC cadres were not scientific but were formed on the basis of “views and opinions of individuals”.
Mantashe added that the group released the document “to cause confusion in society”.
Sources who attended the meeting last week said they told ANC national executive committee (NEC) members that they had to deal with immigration and kick out regional and international illegal foreign nationals as they were being used to marginalise South Africans and make them disgruntled with the governing party.
This was because “those who have an agenda” preferred to employ foreigners over locals in the restaurant, banks, engineering and construction sectors to set Africans against each other.
“We need to be given an opportunity to deal with our problems. The problem is between us and those who want to punish Africans for having challenged their power in the state. When we started, they told people to go and tell Mandela to give them jobs.
“One young man came to us and said, look, ‘I went to a company in Silverton which advertised posts. The first thing they asked me was I a foreigner or a South African. I thought they wanted a South African and responded with pride. They then said, sorry, we don’t employ South Africans’,” said a member of the ANC cadres delegation.
“So when we ask for an opportunity it’s because they don’t understand what we are trying to sort out. We want to ensure that you don’t have a business if you don’t want to employ your own people, who are citizens.
“We don’t want them to be victims of our own family feud. It’s a sacrifice they would have to make. They want to blame our people and say they are xenophobic.”
Business Unity South Africa chief executive officer Cas Coovadia dismissed as “nonsense” any intervention which prescribed the appointment of locals only.
“If they want to talk about regulation, taking action against criminality and so on let’s do it where the real crime is. We obviously have to create employment for our people but we are not in favour of xenophobic attitude. That’s xenophobic attitude.
“I am sorry. The issue is for the government to do what is necessary to enable business to lead economic growth. We need economic growth, and with economic growth we create employment and we also utilise appropriate skills that might be coming into the country for the growth of our country and the benefit of all our people.
“That’s what we should be thinking about. Not this whole nonsense,” said Coovadia.
Lobby group African Diaspora Forum spokesperson Amir Sheikh warned the governing party against “adopting a knee-jerk reaction” to sentiments in the country, adding that it was “a myth” that migrants stole local jobs.
“We would like to engage with the ANC. One of the things we would like to say to them, is that it’s a myth that migrants lead to job losses in South Africa. There is empirical evidence presented by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and the World Bank, among others, that migrants are contributing positively to the economy of the country. South Africa’s high unemployment rate is related to the structure of the economy that even predates 1994. You still have the wealth of the country in the hands of the few,” Sheikh said.
“We don’t want to present ourselves as victims but it is easy to scapegoat migrants because there is sentiment among South Africans. People blame immigrants for some of the problems. But the ANC must not adopt a knee-jerk reaction.”
The document also contained a programme of action aimed at decolonising the state and intervening to alter the economic and social plight of Africans.
“Business and institutions are to employ South African citizens as a national duty. The employment of foreigners is prohibited and should carry heavy penalties. Rare skills to be identified and published by (the) government and in-sourced accordingly,” read part of the 31-page document.
“We face a dire situation that requires extraordinary sacrifices from our people. It is, therefore, critical that foreign nationals afford us the space to deal with our challenges in the short to medium term. The following measures shall be implemented: all resident permits to be reviewed; all foreign nationals, from whatever country and continent, to leave South Africa within the prescribed period; foreign nationals running small businesses and organisations such as saloons, spaza shops, mechanics, sale of second-hand motor vehicles, brick-making, construction work, property development and sales, restaurants, farming, general dealers, NGOs, consultancy business, artisan work and all other menial jobs should close shop or stop the businesses and leave the country within the prescribed period. The government to pass a law closing the conduct of these businesses and activities to citizens only.”
According to the document, “harbouring of foreigners is prohibited and will carry heavy penalties”, while it would be “totally prohibited to lease or hire out property to unregistered foreign nationals.”
However, exceptions would be made for those under threat of political persecution in their countries of origin.
A Southern African Development Community dispensation would be worked out on how to handle regional migration, while the AU would craft a continental plan, said the document.
“All foreigners should comply with this stipulation within the set period of 90 days and are warned that failure to do so will lead to arrest. Those arrested will be forced to work for their deportation costs under the custody of the Department of Prisons. The government shall work out a special dispensation for Lesotho and Swaziland and promulgate such regulatory measures accordingly.”
Insisting that the ANC leadership was compromised and controlled by “invisible masters”, the document said the only solution was to put the party under administration to safeguard its integrity, rebuild and revive it. “A National Task Team is the only credible structure that should take charge of running ANC affairs in the short term. This is a matter of strategic importance.”