Pretoria - The restaurant industry has caused divisions between South Africans and foreigners by hiring foreign nationals and excluding locals who are not susceptible to exploitation.
This is according to leaders of the EFF in Gauteng, who confronted restaurants in Menlyn Mall seeking answers about their staff component to establish the gap between South Africans and foreigners.
EFF acting Gauteng chairperson Itani Mukwevho, his counterpart in Tshwane, Obakeng Ramabodu, and MP Reneilwe Mashabela said the displacement of South Africans in favour of their African brothers and sisters was causing tension in the townships and the employers did not get affected.
They said employers needed to be made aware that they were dividing Africans, leading to xenophobia because South Africans were watching their African brothers and sisters coming into the country and finding work they could also do but denied them because of their nationality.
They visited businesses such as Ocean Basket, Hard Rock Cafe, and Baobab Cafe and Restaurant, where they asked management to provide them with a report to assess the ratio of their staff component between foreign nationals and South Africans.
They told the owners of Ocean Basket, JJ Senekal and George Arujo, that they were part of the people who created a problem in the townships by hiring at least 70% foreign nationals to do work that any other South Africans could do. “This is a problem because when our people fight in the townships and there are cases of black on black violence, these owners are not affected because they are sitting comfortably in their suburban homes.
“Another thing we want to end is this exploitation of our African brothers and sisters who often find themselves being used because they have no say and some are illegal immigrants who cannot be protected by the Constitution,” said Ramabodu.
Senekal and Arujo said they were willing to bring change, but it could not be done by just simply firing people as they too had rights and contracts. They agreed to meet again with the EFF to outline their plan to bring more South Africans into their employ.
Hard Rock Cafe’s Ndumiso Nyandeni said their ratio was 70% South Africans and 30% foreign nationals. This the EFF sought to be convinced of. Baobab Cafe and restaurant said they had about 90% South Africa staff.
Ramabodu said the EFF was going to hold a meeting to come up with a plan to intensify the plan nationally, because this was a national problem. He said the party was still saying it did not want foreign nationals kicked out of the country.
However, South Africans should not be without work because some employers were lying and talking about skills scarcity as South Africans could not serve platters and drinks, and wipe tables.
“Our people must be the ones who get prioritised in all employment.”