28 arrested after KwaMashu looting

2015-04-13 11:21


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Durban - The number of people arrested after several foreign-owned shops were looted or burned down in KwaMashu has been revised to 28, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Monday.

"Some of the roads were completely blockaded with burning tyres and stones. Yesterday [Sunday]... from the afternoon up to late last night, a number of foreign national shops were looted by the community. Some of these shops were burnt down," spokesperson Major Thuli Zwane said.

"Police reacted to those incidents and a case of public violence was opened. Police managed to arrest a total of 28 suspects for public violence, business robbery and for possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition."

Earlier, Zwane put the number of arrests at 22.

All 28, aged between 20 and 41, were expected to appear in the Ntuzuma Magistrate's Court soon.

"The rumours that have circulated around the media that two Somali people were killed in KwaMashu area are not true."

A mob ‘of thousands’

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni said more arrests were expected to be made.

The Inkatha Freedom Party in KwaMashu  said a mob “of thousands” overran the police on Sunday night.

“The councillor from A Section and the men’s hostel informed me that last night [Sunday] he had done his best to try and appease the mob that had gathered but he was powerless. There were thousands of them and they even overran the police,” IFP spokesperson Mdu Nkosi said.

“I am told that the police failed to disperse this mob that went on to rampage on the streets and destroy shops.”

Nkosi said that they had called for calm, and would continue to do everything necessary to settle the crowd.

‘Honest business people being targeted’

“This issue of xenophobia is not something that is limited to a specific ward and we see it now spreading to the whole of Durban.

“These people [foreign nationals] did not just appear here and while the overwhelming narrative is that they are here illegally and contribute towards high rates of crime, the ones being targeted are honest business people who have every right to trade in South Africa.

"These people uplift the economy and now there is an effort to drive them out. The government needs to step in. They are our brothers and sisters and our councillors will continue to try and settle the situation,” he said.

This came as the situation in Durban’s townships remained tense with sporadic violence, usually perpetrated at night.

Temporary shelter

EThekwini Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala visited residents at Bottlebrush informal settlement in Chatsworth where she urged locals to allow displaced foreign nationals to return to the community.

Currently temporary shelter has been set up in Isipingo, Chatsworth and Greenwood Park to accommodate the displaced foreign nationals and additional police have been deployed to beef up security in all affected areas.

“The municipality has supplied tents, electricity, showers, ablution facilities and primary health care in the form of mobile clinics where the displaced foreign nationals have been accommodated,” EThekwini spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said.

Read more on:    police  |  ifp  |  durban  |  crime  |  xenophobia

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