Foreign-owned shops targeted, allege PMB residents

2015-10-09 10:34

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Pietermaritzburg - Some Eastwood community leaders and residents expressed anger with two Mountain Rise police officers who fined three foreign-owned tuck shop owners on Wednesday night.

Community members were annoyed that the fines were only handed to foreign nationals who were operating without a licence and not local owners who are allegedly operating without a licence as well.

Residents believe that this may cause an upsurge of xenophobic violence in the area.

However, uMgungundlovu North police spokesperson Gay Ebrahim said the fines were issued as part of Mountain Rise police station’s effort to address property-related crimes and are targeting all violaters, not just foreign-nationals.

The tuck shop owners, who sell goods mostly in the Cinderella Park area, were made to pay a fine of R250 for operating without a licence.

Eastwood community leader Cynthia Fortein questioned why the police did not inquire about licences at all tuck shops.

“There are more important issues like drugs, gangsterism and murder to worry about in this area. These people [shop owners] are just trying to make an honest living,” Ebrahim said.

Ebrahim said the police operations are focused on, but not limited to tuck shops and cellphone shops in the area.

The operation includes the inspection of all licences, compliance with licence conditions and inspecting the legality of all commodities sold.

“This operation will be ongoing until all tuck shops and cellphone shops are visited in the Mountain Rise policing precinct,” Ebrahim said.

The clampdown on Wednesday night was executed by the Department of Home Affairs, the Msunduzi Municipality and Mountain Rise police officers.

“Several tuck shops were visited to ascertain the nature of their compliance. Four tuck shop owners were charged for non compliance, one South African and three foreign nationals. Tuck shop owners are advised to operate their businesses in accordance with the municipal by-laws,” Ebrahim said

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