Xenophobia: Government tries to contain violence in Durban

2015-04-15 07:35

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With Durban’s CBD on lockdown after a day of xenophobic violence and looting of foreign-owned businesses, political leaders are pushing ahead with an anti-xenophobia march tomorrow.

At the same time, national government ministers dispatched to the province, including Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, are attempting to put together a plan to contain the violence and repatriate foreign nationals wanting to return to their country of origin.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mpaisa-Nqakula yesterday ruled out deploying the SA National Defence Force for now, but police reinforcements have been sent to the province to deal with the attacks, which are in their third week.

Stand-offs between foreign shop owners who had armed themselves and an armed mob which gathered to attack their shops degenerated into violence in the Albert Park area yesterday.

In Point Road, foreigners blockaded the streets in protest against the attacks, which have claimed four lives and left several thousand people homeless.

Durban mayor James Nxumalo called for calm, saying that the security forces had the situation under control and that anyone involved in violence would be prosecuted.

Yesterday’s attacks saw Pakistani and Indian shop owners being targeted along with foreign Africans in West (Dr Pixley KaSeme) Street.

Nxumalo said national, provincial and local government were meeting with all stakeholders to come up with a plan to deal with the attacks.

“Teams from various government departments and the city are already on the ground, working with all concerned stakeholders to initiate talks that will produce a lasting solution for peace and coexistence,’’ he said.

“Government is calling on community leaders to help restore peace and reintegrate the diplaced foreign nationals back to their communities.”

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu condemned the attacks and said law enforcement agencies would not tolerate mob rule.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the party would moblise its branches to work with state agencies and civil society to try to end the attacks.

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