Sacci convenes meeting with Saps and others about violence

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) was due to convene a meeting on Monday with senior police officers and the top executives of major companies with African operations. The aim of the meeting was to discuss ways to deal with the spate of xenophobic attacks that have resulted in the looting and destruction of property, leaving 11 people dead, others injured and hundreds arrested.

Hostel dwellers shunned Inkatha Freedom Party founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s anti-violence address in Johannesburg on Sunday, walking out of it to march and chant in the street instead and demand that foreigners leave South Africa.

Attacks on the small businesses of mainly African immigrants over the past few weeks have sparked retaliatory moves against some South African business operating elsewhere on the continent, such as mobile communications company MTN and retailer Shoprite in Nigeria.

In a statement issued late on Sunday, Sacci said it had invited the top executives of MTN, Shoprite Checkers, Vodacom, Coca-Cola, AB-InBev, Absa, Standard Bank, Liberty, Old Mutual, MultiChoice, Builders Warehouse, Deloitte, EY, First National Bank, Investec, Total SA, BP and Massmart to Monday's meeting.

It also asked officials from the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Brand SA, the department of trade and industry’s Invest SA unit, the department of international relations and co-operation, the Nigeria/South Africa Chamber of Commerce and the ambassadors of Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria to attend.

“It is expected that after the meeting with the South African Police Service (Saps) top brass, a press conference will be held at which the top executives will be reading out their respective statements condemning these xenophobic attacks and the wanton destruction of property and killing of people,” Sacci said.

South Africans participating in the violent protests say they are angry over crimes committed by foreigners, whom they also accuse of “stealing” jobs. But analysts say African immigrants have become scapegoats for rising anger over economic hardships.

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