Help us, plead shop owners in Soweto

2015-01-22 12:12

Immigrants want the government to help them following attacks and looting of their shops in Soweto.

“The government must help us. We have been attacked and left with nothing,” Temesgon Worku, from Ethiopia, said today.

“Our brothers have no food or clothes. If the government does not want us they must tell us. We will go to countries that will accept us.”

He said locals had robbed them and chased them out of the area.

“They called us makwerekwere and said we must leave. We do not feel safe any more,” he said.

Makwerekwere is slang for foreigner.

Foreign-owned shops were looted on Monday after a shopkeeper allegedly shot dead 14-year-old Mthetheleli Siphiwe Mahori, who was part of a group allegedly robbing foreign-owned shops in Snake Park.

The violence spilled over to Braamfischerville overnight.

Worku said two of his relatives were arrested while trying to defend themselves.

“They had a panga and their attackers were armed with guns. The police arrested them and left the armed attackers.”

A local resident, Paul Mogale, said foreigners helped pensioners by giving them groceries on credit.

“They provide a service for pensioners, but for young people they ruin their lives by selling them drugs,” he claimed.

Mogale claimed he had seen boys as young as 14 buying drugs from foreigners.

“The boys are regulars at their shop.”

Gauteng police said more than 60 people had been arrested in connection with the violence. Some of them would appear in the Protea Magistrates’ Court today.

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