Foreign nationals face abuse from local thug

2012-10-10 00:00

FOREIGN national business owners in Howick say they are living in fear, alleging that a local man is terrorising and extorting money from them.

About 10 business people in the area said they have been victims of the man, who has been allegedly visiting their business premises and demanding money for the past several months.

When they refuse, he allegedly verbally abuses them using the derogatory term for foreign nationals, amakwerekwere.

Last week, it got out of control when he allegedly assaulted one of the business owners after he refused to give him money.

Moses Kilozo said he was at his salon when he received a call that the alleged attacker was hitting his brother in a nearby bar.

When he got to the bar, the man was violent and swearing at them.

“We are no longer safe in the area because this man would come and demand money, threatening our staff, calling them names and saying they are working for amakwerekwere. He says we’re stealing his girlfriends. Some of our customers even intervene to assist us when he arrives demanding money,” said Kabila Gilson.

Gilson said police did not open a case when he reported the matter to them.

“They only gave me their number saying that when he is here I must call them. Who knows what will happen next time when he treats us like this?” asked Gilson.

The affected business people own salons, bars and boutiques.

The Witness visited the shop where the attack had allegedly happened and the staff looked frightened.

“We don’t know why this person is treating them like that,” a group of business people told The Witness.

“We’re here to work for our family, we want peace. We are giving others job opportunities. He will come and demand money on a daily basis,” said Koffi Solomon, also a foreign national.

They said the man demanded money from them as they are not South African citizens.

They said he is a well built, tall man and allege that he is from Mpophomeni.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed an incident where Kilozo was assaulted.

“A 35-year-old man was allegedly assaulted by a known suspect at Bell Street. The motive is unknown at this stage. Howick police are investigating a case of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.”

He added that no arrest has been made at this stage.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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