By Samson Echenim
Africa Oil & Power (AOP) says it is outraged by the violent attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in South Africa, calling for violence to come to an end.
“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,” the company said in a statement on Monday.
“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, the 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.”
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.”