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Listless growth fuels frustrated attacks on foreigners, says Mkhize

Source: Ntsakisi Maswanganyi – Business Day Live, 09/08/2015

FLAWS: ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize says elitist business models and a sluggish economy are limiting jobs. THE notion that xenophobic attacks are fuelled by South Africans frustrated at foreigners taking their jobs is flawed. This is according to African National Congress (ANC) treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize. Business models that many felt were not inclusive and an economy that was not growing fast enough to create jobs were at the heart of the issue, Mr Mkhize told a Business Action Against Xenophobia forum organised by the New Partnership for Africa`s Development (Nepad) Business Foundation in Sandton on Thursday. "The bottom line is the economy, we have to grow the economy," Mr Mkhize said. Those gathered at the forum condemned the attacks, saying they were inhumane and should not be allowed to continue. Local banks should help township residents develop business ideas and offer funding, Mr Mkhize proposed. Nedbank chairman Reuel Khoza said banks were already doing this. Mr Mkhize said solutions would be found faster if the government and business intensified their partnerships. Nepad Business Foundation chairman Stanley Subramoney said whatever grievances people had, it was unjustifiable to "kill in the name of poverty, unemployment or inequality". The fallout from the attacks has spilled across borders, with SA`s missions on the continent either threatened or closed. SA companies with operations in other parts of Africa have not been spared. Sasol halted production at some of its projects in Mozambique and repatriated 340 South Africans for fear of reprisal attacks. There has also been talk of boycotting South African products and services. Mr Khoza appealed to African countries not to retaliate, saying Africa could not afford this. Nepad agency CEO Ibrahim Mayaki said SA could not afford to have its image tainted by xenophobia given its role in global forums such as the Group of 20. " It is our collective and common responsibility — (as) South African nationals and non-nationals — to make sure that these things do not happen again," he said. The discussions at the forum will feed into an action plan that local businesses are expected to unveil in coming days.


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