Foreign shop owners wary of attacks

2015-01-27 00:00

FOREIGN shop owners in Pietermaritzburg are fearful that the attacks on businessmen in Soweto may spread to other provinces.

The unrest in Soweto began last week when a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed by a foreigner who owns a spaza shop. The killing angered many residents who took to the streets and attacked foreign shops, looting their goods and vandalising their properties.

The looting spread from Soweto to Kagiso on the West Rand and Sebokeng in the Vaal, causing several deaths including a baby who was trampled by a group of people running.

Since last week over 100 shops in Soweto have been looted.

In Pietermaritzburg, a Somali shop owner who wished to remain anonymous, said looting of any kind would break his business. “Any businessman would react when their business is under attack,” he said.

A Nigerian who runs a barbershop in town told The Witness that even though the police announced that the criminal act wasn’t “xenophobic” he feared an outbreak of mob mentality.

A Pakistani supermarket owner said there was no need for an attack on foreign nationals because their businesses give job opportunities to South Africans. “The community should have reacted differently because the boy had wronged the shop owner. The matter should have been left for police to deal with,” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said police had not received any complaints from foreign shop owners in the province.


ATTACKS on foreign national businessmen have raised serious concerns for the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu.

This comes after a Somali shop owner was murdered in Inanda C section over the weekend by an unknown man who burst into the shop and opened fire. The suspect fled and no goods were stolen.

Mchunu said, “We are calling on all concerned to cease these attacks and resume talks aimed at finding solutions to their concerns. Teams from our department are already on the ground, working with the police and all concerned to initiate talks that will produce a lasting solution …”

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