The latest xenophobic attacks on foreigners by South Africans have generated outrage, and condemnation from different parts of the world. Xenophobia has become an endemic attitude as South Africans continue to attack and foreigners and destroy their businesses. Several other Africans have lost their lives in the wave of the attacks.
South Africans blame the influx of foreigners for the high unemployment rate. Unemployment rate in South Africa decreased to 24.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 from 25.40 percent in the third quarter of the year. Unemployment rate in South Africa averaged 25.25 percent from 2000 until 2014, reaching an all-time high of 31.20 percent in the first quarter of 2003 and a record low of 21.50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The Nigerian Consul-General in South Africa, Uche Ajulu-Okeke, said Nigerians lost more than 1.2 million Rand (N21 million) in the on-going xenophobic attacks. She told the News Agency of Nigeria that the loss included looted shops, burnt shops, two burnt mechanic workshops, 11 burnt cars and two stolen cars, among others.
But while South Africans are angry that foreigners are benefitting from their country through their small businesses, South African mega businesses are flourishing in most part of Africa without any hindrance. Mobile telecommunication service providers, MTN group formerly M-Cell, is a South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company, operating in many African, European and Middle Eastern countries. Its head office is in Johannesburg. It is the world’s 15th-largest mobile telecommunications company measured by subscribers as of 31 March 2014.
Recently, total subscribers increased by 9.8 percent to 207.8 million, supported by 20 percent growth in Nigeria, its biggest market, and further growth in smaller African markets such as Ghana and Ivory Coast. MTN Nigeria had a bumper time last year, making $2.8billion profit, which is around N600billion. Thus there was no surprise when the corporate services executive, MTN Nigeria, Mr Wale Goodluck, decried the call by some people to boycott the services of MTN. According to Mr Wale, “If you look at MTN Nigeria, we provide 500 jobs to Nigerians. 99.9 per cent of our employees are Nigerians. We have 12 expatriates working for us. “We have over 6,000 permanent contract staff and we provide indirect jobs to half a million people.” Our biggest concern is the lives that have been lost in South Africa and the lives of Nigerians that are endangered there. As a company, we serve over 60 million subscribers and we feel the concerns of Nigerians and those whose lives are at risk,” he said.
It is pertinent to also say, MTN Nigeria has generated 37% of total revenue for the MTN group worldwide as at first half of 2014. The Nigerian arm’s revenue was 41.5% higher than that of the home country, South Africa. The Nigerian arm increased revenue by 21.5% (a significant improvement from a year prior) while the South African arm had a decline in revenue of 7% (a worsening from a year prior.) MTN has been in Nigeria for 13 years and the country already contributes more than a third of the revenue for the whole MTN group worldwide. Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria is not listed in Nigeria stock market where it rides the wave of profitability and repatriates the funds back home.
DSTV will be no different from MTN in terms of where majority of its revenue comes from. There is no doubt that a large chunk of Nigerians make use of the DSTV decoder. The love for football and other sports by the male folks has made the DSTV becomes almost indispensable in our homes. More so, there are also soap operas and other programs that make virtually everyone attached to the screen. Despite DSTV pretty much increases its subscription fees every 15 months on average, the use of DSTV in Nigeria is still on the increase. But it remains shameful that the Nigerian economy doesn’t gain a large chunk of this earning even though its citizens are the major contributors to the success of the company.
As a matter of fact, Multichoice Africa, the parent company of DStv, on March 3, 2015, announced a 20percent price increase for DStv and Gotv which took effect from April 1, 2015 and this happened despite a court injunction. The company also said the increase in DStv tariffs was not only in Nigeria, but also in every country where MultiChoice has its operations. The price increase will set the DStv premium, which is currently at $77 to $81 monthly. According to Its Public Relations Manager, Ms. Caroline Oghuma, MultiChoice implements annual subscription price increase in all its operating countries. This according to her is as a result of the impact on the subscriber, current inflation, and efficiencies affected within the company that may offset the necessity for a price increase. This shows how lenient and accommodating Nigeria and other African countries have been to companies owned by non-citizens. But it remains shameful that the Nigerian economy doesn’t gain a much from of this earnings even though its citizens are the major contributors to the success of the company.