As MTN we strongly condemn prejudice and xenophobia and we reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of any and all violence, Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator said in a statement on Tuesday.
“As a leading pan-African telecommunications company with operations in 21 countries, MTN believes in the potential of an Africa whose nations pursue deeper trade, integration and cooperation,” MTN said.
“We actively encourage the dialogue necessary to maintain peace and sustain strong relationships and urge all our customers and stakeholders to support and defend the principles of human rights, diversity and inclusion and an integrated collaborative Africa.”
South African police on Monday arrested dozens of people following widespread looting and protests in the transport industry linked to a wave of anti-foreigner sentiment.
At least 70 people have been arrested since hundreds of people marched through Johannesburg’s Central Business District (CBD) earlier on Monday, plundering shops and torching cars and buildings, the police said in a statement.
The unrest started on Sunday when an old building in the CBD caught fire and collapsed, killing at least three people. For more read: Scores arrested in looting, xenophobic protests
Government has called for calm and restraint in those parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal where communities have raised concerns and grievances on various issues affecting them.
In a statement, the government said no amount of grievance or unhappiness can justify the looting of shops, destruction of properties and illegal blocking of roads.
“Such acts constitute a criminal offence and the law enforcement agencies must respond without any fear or favour,” said Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting Director-General Phumla Williams in the statement.
She said South Africa is a democratic state that promotes robust dialogue and engagement with dissatisfied communities.
“As government, we will not allow anarchy and violence to be the order of the day. We commend the quick response of the South African Police Services (SAPS) which has resulted in the arrest of a number of individuals,” she said in the statement.
With regard to the attacks on trucks, 20 individuals have been arrested in KwaZulu-Natal after responding to incidents along major routes and known hotspots in the province. These arrests relate to public violence and obstruction of traffic, possession of unlicensed firearms, attempted murder and malicious damage to property.
In Gauteng, following the violence and looting of shops in Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and the Johannesburg CBD, 70 arrests have been made in connection with public violence, malicious damage to property and theft.
Government said police will continue their work to restore order in the affected areas and government urges all law-abiding citizens to continue to work with the police and isolate the criminals.
“Let us remain vigilant against fake news that is being peddled through social media platforms to fuel tensions within the respective communities. Anyone found to be spreading the fake stories on social media will be dealt with accordingly. We cannot allow those who want to portray our country in a bad light to succeed,” said Williams.
In the statement, government urged all members of the community to work together with the law enforcement agencies. Community members can report any criminal activities they have witnessed to the police using the 10111 emergency number.