Pretoria – Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has condemned the looting of small businesses that followed as a result of protests in the City of Tshwane.
“I condemn the looting of small businesses in Tshwane in the strongest possible terms. It is totally unacceptable and works against the interests of the country,” said the Minister on Sunday.
Violent protests erupted in Tshwane this week with protesters burning buses, barricading streets with burning tyres, pelting passing motorists with stones. Many shops in the city’s townships, including Soshanguve, Mamelodi and Mabopane, were looted.
“The violence, destruction of property and various acts of criminality directed at foreign-owned traders cannot be tolerated in a democratic society.
“Furthermore, this looting and destruction of local and foreign national-owned shops and other small businesses reverses the gains that government has been making to harmonise the relationships between local and traders of foreign origin,” said the Minister.
It also undermines the efforts of government, and the Department of Small Business, to strengthen small businesses to create jobs and improve the socio-economic conditions of communities.
The Minister was concerned that the intimidation of small business owners and destruction of small businesses will discourage entrepreneurs to establish new businesses, and undermine efforts of building a nation of entrepreneurs and job creators.
She commended the police for doing their best to deal with an extremely difficult and volatile situation. She urged law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned to restore calm and stability in the area.
Police on Friday conducted intervention operations in the townships in the north of Tshwane to restore calm and retrieve items believed to be stolen during looting.