The disturbances in South Africa have been reported from various perspectives by different media outlets and the most prominent angle has been that it is a riot of the angry and the hungry as well as the disenfranchised and the disillusioned.
However, very few would have counted a chief executive officer of a financial services institution to feature among those described in the paragraph above. Even if the CEO was not in any of the categories aforementioned, still very few would think Qhawe Sithole was a greedy anarchist who wanted to see the breakdown of law and order so that he could nick a few bottles of alcoholic beverages and some home appliances from a store.
Sithole is not only the CEO of Ubuntu Wealth Management, which is based in Pretoria, the beautiful capital city in central South Africa but also founded the company, apparently.
The CEO was allegedly in Durban earlier in the week and joined the melee, which has spread to other parts of the country after breaking out in KwaZulu-Natal last week. Although the immediate cause of the protest seems to have been the arrest of former South African president Jacob Zuma, a vast range of remote socioeconomic and political problems have been mentioned too.
Police say Sithole was caught with a washing machine, a bar stool, alcohol and other braai (a South African grill stand) accessories amid the looting. He was in the company of another man.
The arrested CEO’s firm is thought to provide financial planning advice for wealth and investments, asset management, income solutions and equity segregated portfolio strategies. But the local news outlet IOL claims it could not reach the firm for comments via listed phone numbers.
But another official of Ubuntu Wealth, Chief Operating Officer Mmangaliso Nxumalo, took to Facebook to write:
The board wishes to clarify that the chief executive officer has been suspended with immediate effect pending the outcome of his case and an independent investigation into the charges that have been brought to him. Once the board receives all facts to this case and have studied the findings, the board will take the recommended disciplinary action against the chief executive as required. The board will move swiftly to institute such disciplinary action so that the matter will be resolved as soon as possible.
Another man, Michael Hay, who is thought to be a friend of Sithole’s also took to Facebook to slam the CEO, calling him a disgrace to Hilton College. Sithole is said to have attended the school which is one of the most expensive in South Africa.
Hay wrote: “Qhawe Sithole I told you I was going make you famous for looting and stealing. You in your Wrangler [attire] with a washing machine, bicycle, braai stuff, bar stool and alcohol. It’s not acceptable, you are the problem, you are the rot. Ubuntu Wealth, how can you give advice when your have no values[?]”.
The riots in the Rainbow Nation persists even after some lives were reportedly lost. On Thursday, July 15, a top national official said some 25,000 police officers will be deployed in a bid to quell the disturbances.