A South African businessman has spoken out against the looting spree that Soweto residents took part in this week. Small businesses belonging to foreign nationals were broken into in Zola, Emdeni, Moletsane, White City, Zondi, and Rockville.
Epupeng Project Distributions director Oupa Ngake told The Citizen that the perception that foreign nationals only hired their own was wrong. He condemned the looting spree, saying not only did it put foreign nationals out of business, but also left South Africans without jobs.
“We want them to tell us exactly what they want. This thing of saying the foreigners don’t hire them, I have proof. I have 50 people who are hired and work with foreigners in their fully registered businesses in this country, through them.
“If it wasn’t for them [foreign nationals] we would have been able to hire 50 people without going to school. We are also not educated. We distribute different products to more than 12,600 tuck shops that belong to our foreign brothers in Soweto. We were affected by what happened yesterday, we saw it when it started happening.”
According to Ngake, the looting started at noon on Wednesday when a group of people attacked a Sasko delivery truck in Zondi. At the time, everyone thought it was robbery.
“We became aware at around 4 o’clock that this is not robbery, it’s something beyond that but we didn’t know what it was. We’re so stressed, we don’t know. As a small company, we have 50 people we hired who as we speak now, they’re not working, so it means 50 families were not making a living.”
Ngake said the hatred looters had was beyond xenophobia
“We want these people to tell us exactly what is going on. If they say these people don’t share with them, we can stand in front and say we’re sharing with these people, we’re doing business with these people that they don’t want.”
He further called on government to do something about the looting as it was affecting them.
“It’s getting worse. Nine months back, it happened and it’s happening again now. How do we stop this?”
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)