Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS
Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS

A number of JSE-listed firms operating in Nigeria are reported to have shut down some of their branches in the country as a spate of xenophobic violence continues in Gauteng.

People in Nigeria have reportedly turned on SA-based business such as Shoprite in retaliation to the violence against foreign nationals in parts of Pretoria and Johannesburg.

MTN’s stores and service centres in Nigeria were closed on Wednesday as a precaution, the company said.

“Over the past day, four MTN outlets in Nigeria have been the subject of attacks and we have had to close some stores in Johannesburg. There are no reported injuries,” the company said. “We remain committed to ensuring a peaceful, harmonious and respectful relationship with all our stakeholders across Africa.” 

Shares in Africa’s largest mobile operator were trading 0.98% down during lunchtime trade on Wednesday at R99.72. Its Nigeria unit did not fair any better on the news, with its shares down 1.07%. 

The reportedly co-ordinated attacks have seen residents going on the rampage, looting foreign-owned businesses in Tembisa, Alexandra, Hillbrow, Cleveland, Jeppestown and the Johannesburg CBD since Sunday. The violence continued on Tuesday, spreading to other areas including Germiston on the East Rand.

On Monday, the Nigerian government tweeted: “The continuing attacks on Nigerian nationals and businesses in SA are unacceptable. Enough is enough. Nigeria will take definitive measures to ensure safety and protection of her citizens.”

Africa’s largest pay TV operator MultiChoice has reportedly also shut down some of its branches in Nigeria.

MultiChoice group CEO Calvo Mawela previously said in a statement: “We believe Africa’s full potential can only be realised through dialogue, peace, and unity. This is a sombre period for every African on the continent and beyond, and we urge all our customers, followers, and stakeholders to shun violence.”

MultiChoice shares were down 0.55% just before 2pm on Wednesday.

gavazam@businesslive.co.za