Fikile Mbalula: South Africa is a ‘banana republic’

Fikile Mbalula

Fikile Mbalula has referred to South Africa as a ‘banana republic’ because of its relaxed regulations regarding foreign nationals.

Mbalula has held many positions within the African National Congress (ANC). At one time he was the minister of police and the minister of Sports and Recreation. Yet, Mbalula is most famous for being the unofficial ‘Minister of Twitter’, for his controversial statements made via social media.

Fikile Mbalula in Soweto

Now, as head of the ANC’s election, Mbalulu has done it again; this time targeting foreign nationals who own spaza shops in informal settlements. Addressing the people of Soweto at the Orlando Community Hall, Mbalulu discussed the violent looting and protests which shook White City, leaving three people dead and countless more injured and arrested.

Reports state that the riots broke out due to grievances over foreign nationals supplying ‘fake’ and expired foods to consumers. Spaza shops were looted and destroyed as xenophobic protests spread throughout Soweto.

Sowetan Live reported on Mbalula’s public address, which instead of denouncing xenophobia, focused on the government’s inability to regulate foreign nationals and the businesses that they operate. The ANC cadre stated that foreign nationals were exploiting South African consumers by working ‘illegally’ and flouting tax regulations, saying:

“Even in the fallen Zimbabwe you cannot find people doing as they please. But in South Africa they [foreign business owners] even take our jobs. Do you know why? Because South Africa is a banana republic.

They do not employ locals because you refuse to be exploited by working six to six but our African brothers take those jobs and succumb to exploitation and get paid peanuts. This country to them is a banana republic because they do not want to pay.”

Mbalula ended his public address by saying that foreign nationals were welcome to do business in South Africa, so long as they conformed to the country’s regulations and operated legal enterprises.