President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent door-to-door voter registration campaign took an unexpected turn when he visited an Ethiopian-owned spaza shop, triggering a heated debate on social media.
Accompanied by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, ANC Youth League leader Collen Malatji, and other ANC officials, the president’s campaign aimed to encourage voter registration and secure support for the ANC in the upcoming general elections.
During one of his stops, Ramaphosa engaged with an Ethiopian spaza shop owner, steering clear of the contentious issue of illegal immigration.
Instead, he inquired about the legality of the business and its overall performance. The shopkeeper assured the president that the business was registered, inviting him to purchase anything from the store.
However, the move drew criticism from some South Africans who have been vocal about the presence of illegal immigrants dominating the spaza shop industry. Reports of fake and expired goods sold in outlets owned by undocumented foreigners have fueled concerns among locals.
Social media platforms, particularly Twitter, became a battleground for opposing views on the president’s actions.
One user wrote, “The president of RSA is visiting an illegal spaza shop run by an illegal immigrant. These immigrants are found to be selling expired, fake, and counterfeit products to vulnerable South Africans. Vote wisely Mzansi. Let’s address the real issues.”
While some argue that the president’s visit highlights the need for stricter regulations and enforcement in the spaza shop industry, others commend his effort to engage with small business owners and understand their challenges.
The debate reflects the broader concerns around illegal immigration and its impact on local businesses and communities.
As a supporter of President Ramaphosa , this is DISGRACEFUL AND VERY EMBARRASSING. How do you promote a foreigners business.
EMBARRASSING, Also it seems because these foreigners don’t allow the locals to open spaza shops the president and his team cannot find a South African…
— Goolam (@goolammv) February 3, 2024
I was disappointed nami. Why did he have to get into the shop in the 1st place? He asks if the business is registered, we know it’s not, even the guy is illegal, how can we expect his business to be legally registered?
— Zakhele (@zakheleGama) February 3, 2024
That visit was really unnecessary…the spaza shop is owned by an Ethiopian and yet our President is not bemused….did he think that was normal? Panyaza yena is just smiling around…what happens to local township economy???
— Bavino (@Bafana_Bucs1) February 3, 2024
Do you think we can go to Ethiopia and open shops or any business there???😕 this is sad😔
— Ofentse V Led (@ov_ofentse) February 3, 2024