Taxi drivers and residents in the Pretoria city centre have resorted to violence in the name of ridding the area of illicit drugs which, they say, are sold by foreigners who are in cahoots with corrupt police officials.
Xenophobia? Definitely. But that is not the entire story. Business Times columnist and businessman Andile Khumalo this weekend wrote about a disturbing phenomenon that has become prevalent especially around Durban and other areas of KwaZulu-Natal. This is the phenomenon of the so-called Local Business Forums, sometimes also known as Amadelangokubona.
These are usually made up of small, struggling and black business people seeking a cut in major contracts given to big, and often white, construction and engineering companies by government departments, municipalities and parastatals. As their Zulu name suggests, they are daring - willing to employ whatever tactic to force their way into contracts they claim they are “unfairly” excluded from.
Many a major project has been stalled for months due to Amadelangokubona threatening the safety of the contractor’s employees and equipment unless they are “sub-contracted” to provide “security” and “labour.
At the heart of all this mayhem, whether targeted at foreign national or large and mainly white contractors, is what Khumalo describes as “the daily lived experience of most South Africans of being excluded from meaningful economic opportunity”.