- Foreign nationals appear to have been the main target of sydenham locals, who embarked on xenophobic attacks in the area on Monday night. Many of the locals had fled the area, in fear of more violence, seeking shelter at the sydenham police station. Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA).
Durban - A NUMBER of foreigners displaced during a xenophobic attack at Burnwood settlement in Sydenham were being accommodated at a nearby mosque yesterday.

According to Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane, protesting community members removed foreigners from their homes in the early hours of yesterday morning.

“No one was injured or assaulted. Police had to intervene and monitor the situation,” he said.

Fleeing residents were escorted by police to the Sydenham police station.

Resident Domenic King said the foreigners’ shacks were looted once they had left.

“People were walking out of other people’s shacks carrying fridges,” he said.

King said people had been dropping off supplies such as food and blankets since news of the attack broke.

“More people keep coming forward with supplies. We have had people come from as far as Durban North. These people might not have the comfort of a shelter yet, but helping hands have brought some sort of relief,” he said.

The municipal head of International Governance and Relations, Eric Apelgren who was in Sydenham, said he sent a proposal to the city manager for temporary shelter for the displaced and was waiting for approval for a marquee and other items.

“We have a recommended plan for temporary shelter and reintegration. People can’t stay in a police station; there’s no space and the ablution facilities would not be able to cope. Thankfully some of the destitute have been taken in at a nearby mosque,” he said.

Mayor Zandile Gumede said the attack on foreigners was a criminal offence and would not be tolerated.

“We will not hesitate to act against criminal activities or against those who are inciting violence. We have come a long way as a country and we can’t allow bad elements to set us back by discriminating against fellow Africans,” she said.

Gumede said the authorities were deliberating about the welfare of the displaced until the situation in the area returned to normal.

“The municipality has deployed members of metro police to control and monitor the situation in and around Burnwood and Kenville settlements,” she said.

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