Durban - The local taxi industry has condemned the violence against foreign nationals after the death of an uMlazi resident on Sunday night.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said one person was killed in violence in uMlazi’s Y section. He said a South African male was killed and the community attacked foreign nationals in the area believing they were behind the murder.
He said police were investigating and monitoring the situation. “We encourage people not to resort to violence based on suspicions,” he said.
Zwane and eThekwini deputy mayor Fawzia Peer have denied the recent attacks and violence were caused by xenophobia, with both saying these were cases of criminality.
Last week, informal residents in Burnwood, Sydenham, kicked out hundreds of Malawian nationals after it was alleged one of them stole goods from a South African in the settlement.
Sifiso Shangase, South African National Taxi Council KwaZulu-Natal manager, said it condemned any form of violence against foreign nationals.
He said it was not right for a group of people to be punished for the transgressions of a few.
“It touches us that as Africans, we are hurting each other,” he said.
Shangase said xenophobic attacks or violence would be bad for their business as it would mean that drivers who went to other countries could face retaliatory discrimination from authorities in those countries.
Peer, who was at the forefront of quelling tensions, yesterday told the Daily News the Burnwood incident was a case of criminality and not xenophobia. She said when the Malawian national was caught for stealing and had promised he would pay back the money but did not, this angered South African Burnwood residents.
“If it was xenophobic, then people from Burnwood would not be willing to accept the Malawian nationals back into their community, like they are doing now. In 2015, when xenophobic violence erupted, the communities who kicked out foreign nationals did not want them to return, but this time, the residents were willing for the Malawians to return,” said Peer.
The city said tensions had calmed after mayor Zandile Gumede and Acting Malawian High Commissioner to South Africa Gloria Bamusi met Burnwood residents.
The UN Refugee Agency, however, expressed concern over the violence. Leonard Zulu, the deputy regional representative for southern Africa, said the organisation asked for government and civil society action on the matter.
“Regardless of nationality or immigration status, the human rights of all persons residing in South Africa must be respected... We also call for the government to ensure that those responsible for acts of violence are brought to account.”