The bulk of accusations against foreign-owned businesses are targeted at Pakistani and Somali nationals.
According to Fahad Chaudhary, commercial secretary at the Pakistani embassy, Pakistan nationals in the country are known for small businesses and their contribution to employment.
“The Pakistani community in South Africa, by and large, is associated with small-scale businesses, thus contributing positively towards the South African economy, in addition to providing employment to South Africans.
“Any individual involved in violating local laws and by-laws should not be taken as a reflection of the whole community.”
Chaudhary said the High Commission of Pakistan recently met with government authorities and requested details of any Pakistani individuals violating any laws.
“Pakistan has repeatedly requested the concerned authorities to find a solution for such matters.”
The Pakistani diaspora in South Africa is estimated to be around 100 000, out of total estimated 6 million foreign nationals in the country.
“Law and order, as well as security are the major challenges faced by Pakistani businesses. The recent wave of xenophobic attacks on certain foreigners, causing loss of life and property damage, also included Pakistani diaspora at certain places,” he said.
Chaudhary pointed out that the commission had made strenuous efforts to pursue cases of attacks against Pakistani diaspora with local authorities.
“Generally, the Pakistani community has acquired residence or work permits in South Africa and in some cases have acquired temporary residence permits or relative permits on the basis of getting married to South Africans.
“It may be noted that [Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu] has assured ambassadors of some Asian and African countries [that South Africa will provide] protection to foreigners in South Africa against xenophobic attacks,” he said.
Chaudhary could not provide an exact figure of how many Pakistan nationals are in the country and the kind of permits they hold.
Numerous efforts to get comment from the Somali embassy proved fruitless.
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