Probe into violence against foreigners

2015-02-26 21:06
(Mikzo, Twitter)

(Mikzo, Twitter)

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Johannesburg - The violence involving foreign-owned businesses across the country will be investigated, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said on Thursday.

"The loss of lives and destruction of property must be condemned in the strongest possible terms," Zulu said in a statement.

She said a team would be set up to examine the causes and make recommendations.

"We appeal to members of our communities to co-operate with the police and not take the law into their own hands."

She said everyone living in South Africa, including foreigners, were entitled to protection under the law. In terms of the Constitution, asylum-seekers and refugees could establish and conduct businesses in South Africa.

"Foreigners who own businesses are also subject to the same taxes and levies as South Africans," she said.

"We appeal to members of our communities to allow government departments and other state agencies space to address the situation."

Zulu was recently quoted as saying foreigners should share their trade secrets with locals.

"Black people were never part of the economy of South Africa in terms of owning anything. Therefore, when they see other people coming from outside being successful they feel like the space is being closed by foreigners," she told Bloomberg on 28 January.

"It's important for the foreigners to share with the South Africans about what it is that makes it possible for them to be successful."

Two people were arrested for stealing goods from a foreign-owned shop in Thembelihle, Lenasia, on Monday.

During what appeared to be a service delivery protest, some residents barricaded roads, while others went to loot foreign-owned shops, Gauteng police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said at the time.

He said the shop had been looted by a number of residents in the area.

"They took a lot of things from the shops. They unfortunately fled the scene."

Last month about 180 people were arrested in connection with the looting and violence.

The unrest, which spread from Soweto to Kagiso on the West Rand, Sebokeng in the Vaal, Eden Park in Ekurhuleni and Alexandra, in northern Johannesburg, was labelled by many as xenophobic.

It was sparked by the shooting of 14-year-old Siphiwe Mahori on 19 January. Mahori had allegedly been part of a group who tried to rob a shop kept by Somali national Alodixashi Sheik Yusuf. He was shot dead when Yusuf allegedly shot at the group.

The shooting was followed by a wave of looting of foreign-owned shops. Several people were killed, including a baby trampled by a group of people running.


Read more on:    lindiwe zulu  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  xenophobia  |  soweto unrest

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