Financier CEO Suspended for Looting Booze and Home Appliances During South Africa Riots

South Africa
GUILLEM SARTORIO/AFP via Getty Images

The founder and chief executive officer of a wealth management fund has been suspended for allegedly taking advantage of the unrest in South Africa to loot alcoholic beverages and a washing machine, among other items.

Qhawe Sithole, an alumnus of South Africa’s most expensive school, Hilton College, was suspended from Ubuntu Wealth Management in Pretoria after his arrest by police officers in uMhlanga.

“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,” confirmed his firm’s chief operating officer, Mmangaliso Nxumalo, in comments quoted by Independent Online (IOL).

“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,” Nxumalo added.

Sithole’s alleged wrongdoing was publicly exposed by Facebook friend Michael Hay, according to IOL, who wrote on the social media platform:

“Qhawe Sithole I told you I was going make you famous for looting and stealing. You in your Wrangler 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.

“You [are] a disgrace to your old school Hilton College, you [are] a disgrace to the FSCA [Financial Sector Conduct Authority], you [are] a disgrace to our wonderful country, I can’t believe you did what you did.”

The ongoing disorder in South Africa, which has seen thousands of soldiers deployed to support the police and the country’s reserves called up for the first time in decades, was precipitated by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court amid ongoing corruption investigations.

The African National Congress (ANC) government believes that criminal elements with no political motivation are exacerbating the situation, however — and party deputy secretary-general has alleged the violence “is planned. It is someone sitting somewhere and planning it.”

Dozens of people have been reported killed in the chaos, with vigilantes and private security firms taking matters into their own hands and resorting to an increasing level of force in response to the state’s failure to restore order.

The country’s substantial Indian minority, in particular, appears to feel under increasing threat, with fears that they will become the target of reprisals as unsubstantiated rumours of a supposed “massacre” of black South Africans by Indians in the town of Phoenix are spread around on social media, stoking racial tension.

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