Calm returns to Durban CBD - for now

By Drum Digital
15 April 2015

Durban’s central business district remained largely calm and quiet on Wednesday morning following the violence that had seen police disperse both locals and foreigners.

By early afternoon on Wednesday there was one minor incident of looting reported in Queens Street.

While power outages had an effect, many shops remained closed with metal shutters pulled down.

There was a visible absence of shoppers from the central business district.

Alvin Morar, the owner of Morar Sports in Queen Street closed his business before midday.

"There's no business. There are no shoppers. What's the point of being here? We are just wasting our time," he said moments after locking his shop.

The South African born and raised shop owner said he had lost "thousands of rands".

He said he had not seen any incidents, but believed shoppers were staying away because of the violence that took place on Tuesday.

Members of the police's motorcycle unit could be seen racing up the various roads in the city centre.

There was an unconfirmed report of a drive-by shooting in Albert Street.

Around Mahatma Ghandi Street and the Albert Park area - two areas in the central business district where large numbers of foreigners live - groups of foreign men could be seen standing on corners.

At about midday a large crowd of foreigners gathered on the corner of Fisher Street and Mahatma Gandhi Street where an SABC television crew were doing a live broadcast.

But as the crew wrapped up their broadcast some of the crowd became upset at a man's comments made to SABC journalist Ayanda Mhlongo.

Police quickly moved in and whisked the man away for his own safety. It was not known what he said.

A Congolese man standing aside from the crowd and who only identified himself as David, said: "This country is going down. Why worry about the foreigners when the lights are not working? I mean there is no electricity."

He pointed to the buildings, where the lights were off because of rolling blackouts.

David, who said he had been in the country for 15 years, asked: "What's going to happen when the foreigners are gone? This is not about foreigners or the king. There is something else about this."

He then disappeared into the crowd standing opposite Fisher Street next to The Wheel shopping centre.



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