Nafcoc Gauteng. Foreign nationals who are not running legal businesses in South Africa’s townships should be barred from operating, according to National African Federated Chamber of Commerce’s (Nafcoc) Gauteng CEO Kabelo Khosana. His comments come in the midst of “Operation Dubula”, a movement that is evicting foreign nationals operating spaza shops and informal trades in townships.
The movement has made headlines again when videos surfaced on social media showing members evicting informal traders in areas like the Bara Taxi Rank in Soweto, parts of Ekurhuleni and parts of Johannesburg South. Human rights organisations have condemned these actions, labelling them as a xenophobic attack on the African diaspora in the country.
“I am not ashamed to say that any foreign national who is here to trade without compliance certificates should not be here, and should not be allowed to trade,” Khosana told Vutivi News. However, he said that all businesses, whether owned by locals or foreigners, had to be compliant, and Nafcoc did not support any actions that discriminated against foreign nationals who were operating businesses legally.
”My view is that whoever has compliance to be in South Africa and to trade in South Africa, should be allowed to trade,” Khosana said. “Foreign nationals who are here legally follow regulations, and those who wish to trade should have their businesses registered as per the regulations in South Africa.” Khosana said the movement was concerned about the exclusion of township-based businesses by the government and the private sector.
“Township businesses are neglected and there is no support from the government and the private sector for township businesses,” he noted. “What we see happening is the mushrooming of malls in townships wherein big players like Pick n Pay and others are taking from the township without ploughing back into, or investing into, township businesses.
“You will find a situation where someone who was a business owner is hired to manage one of these franchise stores. The owner, who previously had the autonomy to source from locally-produced goods, is now compelled to source from the manufactures these franchise businesses choose,” he said. This had resulted in smaller businesses losing money to their larger counterparts.
“This is a recipe for killing township entrepreneurs. When we, as an organisation, lobby government and the private sector, we are not given an ear,” Khosana said. While Nafcoc did not have an issue with foreign nationals operating legally in townships, they should also plough back into the township economy. “We need a cross-filling environment where foreign nationals upskill our people so that they too will be able to benefit from their trade,” Khosana said.