MultiChoice shuts offices as protesters attack SA businesses in Nigeria, boss Joe Heshu speaks out

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South African television group MultiChoice has shut its offices and branches in Nigeria and Zambia, according to its head of corporate affairs Joe Heshu.

This follows protests at the group’s Nigerian and Zambian offices in Lagos and Lusaka.

Heshu told Fin24 on Wednesday that the branches would remain closed until the situation had stabilised.

“We have had to shut branches and offices to safeguard customers and staff until further notices,” said Heshu.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that MTN stores in three Nigerian cities have been attacked and all stores and service centres in the country have been shut until further notice. A spokesperson for the SA-headquartered telecommunications giant did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Shops owned by citizens from other African countries have been looted in recent days in South Africa, while truck drivers from neighbouring countries have also been targetted in violent attacks. On Tuesday evening police in Gauteng announced that 189 people had been arrested since Sunday for public violence, malicious damage to property and theft, and five murders reported.

Shoprite, meanwhile, has confirmed that several stores in South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia were unable to open due to protest action, and extensive damage has been done to supermarkets over the past 24 hours.

“(Shoprite) is highly concerned about the acts of xenophobic violence against foreign nationals that sporadically flare up and the resultant rhetoric of intolerance that is levelled against foreigners and the platform this creates for criminals to exploit this,” it said in a statement.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking at a Brand SA breakfast meeting in Cape Town on Wednesday morning, condemned attacks on foreign nationals living in South Africa, saying SA is a ‘home for all”.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, meanwhile, has summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria to respond to the xenophobic attacks, and dispatched a special envoy to South Africa.

— Fin24


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