Africa Oil & Power (AOP) is outraged by the violent attacks on foreign nationals living in South Africa. As government adopts measures to ensure safety for all, AOP calls for violence to come to an end; As of 9 September, the South African Police has made 639 arrests related to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The country has seen a dramatic increase in public violence and looting; South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa says there is no justification for the attacks and calls on ministers and the police service to find solutions to address the violence.
Africa Oil & Power (AOP) and its partners strongly condemn the violent attacks on foreign nationals living in South Africa which have resulted in businesses being looted and at least 12 lives claimed. In addressing the issue with determination to eliminate it, the government of South Africa has implemented safety and security action plans all over the country and aims to put an end to the xenophobic attacks.
Africa Oil & Power’s business is rooted in the promotion of African cooperation and unity. Through our conferences all over the continent and beyond, we have aimed to tell Africa’s energy and investment story in a way that is beneficial to Africa’s people first. However, a positive end goal can only be achieved if we embrace one another and work together.
“AOP stands firmly against the violence on foreign nationals that has erupted in South Africa in recent weeks. We are pleased that the government has taken affirmative action against the xenophobic attacks which has already shown positive results,” said Guillaume Doane, CEO of Africa Oil & Power.
“This is a time for South Africa to look back at its democratic breakthrough in 1994 in which the support of other African countries was critical in it achieving its freedom. The country is where it is today in large part because of the generosity and kindness of its neighboring countries,” he said.
Raising concern and denouncing the surge of violence, CEO of Centurion Law Group and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber NJ Ayuk said: “Most people, particularly most Africans, are familiar with this situation. The question is, then, what is to be done to end disproportionate violence and economic stagnation? Businesses are leaving and investors are not investing. The blame game is not going to work. We must own up to it, find solutions and fix it. This is not the Africa we are working for.”
Cautioning the vicious cycle that is bound to occur should the violence not be addressed with immediate action, he added that: “Many have given up on a solution and the hardliners on both sides are winning. This is going to underpin a vicious cycle, high rates of violent crimes, more poverty and killings. Words must become deeds that meet needs. We owe it to a lot of good people who are trapped.”
On 5 September, South African Police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini said there had been a “dramatic decline in public violence and looting” in Gauteng – where the violent attacks initially began – after 289 people had been arrested.
Many South Africans and global leaders have called on the country to take immediate action in ending the violence. In response, President Cyril Ramaphosa, in an official statement endorsed on Twitter by Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe said: “The people of our country want to live in harmony. Whatever concerns or grievances we may have, we need to handle them in a democratic way. There can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries.”
“I condemn the violence that has been spreading around a number of our provinces in the strongest terms. I’m convening the ministers in the security cluster today to make sure that we keep a close eye on these acts of wanton violence and find ways of stopping them.”
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) also pledged its support to the government and encouraged South Africans to look to the future and how these events will affect the country’s advancement. “We, as the chamber, condemn the violence. We want to caution against these attacks which are shortsighted to destroy businesses,” said Mtho Xulu, the President of SACCI, in a meeting of business representatives with the Police Minister on Monday.
The South African Oil & Gas Alliance (SAOGA) also spoke out against the violence in a statement to AOP, reminding South Africans that it is in everyone’s interest that we live harmoniously with our neighbours.
“In many ways, South Africa is who most African nations look to for inspiration on how to drive social and economic change. It is disappointing that the violence should alter this perception in a critical time when Africa is emerging as a key player on the global stage,” said Adrian Strydom, SAOGA Executive.
“I encourage all South Africans to speak up against this horrific situation, not only because the rest of the world is watching, but because it is wrong and goes against the country’s ideals and the spirit of Ubuntu.”