KZN police on alert as fears over safety of foreigners grows

Published Sep 9, 2019


Durban -  Public Order Police are on standby in the Durban Central Business District to quell any protest or attacks against foreign owned businesses on Monday. 

Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad, the Durban Metro Police spokesperson said both the SAPS and Metro were placed around the city to deal with any situations. 

He said there were several protests but they were not related to xenophobia. 

The heightened police presence comes after hoax messages are being circulated on social media calling for attacks on foreign own businesses. 

Swift action by police officers in Himeville led to the arrest of a 27-year-old man for creating these messages. 

On Monday foreigners living in Durban who spoke to the Daily News said they had been advised to stay at home.

"We are scared to leave the house. We were told that we would be attacked today so we not leaving where we stay," a Malawian man who did not want his nuame published said.

The man who lived in Chesterville, west of Durban and works as a gardener said he and several friends from Malawi had decided to be together in numbers in case they were attacked.

"There are many foreigners here in Chesterville and we are all scared. At any time we can be attacked," he said.

Colonel Thembeka Mbele, a KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, said the messages were threatening and inciting attacks on foreign nationals in Underberg.

"It is alleged that on 6 September 2019, more than 20 foreign nationals operating businesses in Underberg reported to police that there was a post on Facebook inciting the Underberg community to attack all foreign nationals and their businesses in the area. The post mentioned the names of the businesses that should be attacked.Police immediately commenced with their investigation which led to the arrest of the suspect at his place of work at a farm in Underberg. He was taken to the Himeville police station for detention. His electronic devices were seized for further investigation,"Mbele said. 

A case of intimidation and incitement to commit public violence was opened at the Himeville police station for investigation. 

The man will appear in the Underberg Magistrates Court. 

Sewpersad said police attended to disruptions at the Mangosuthu University in uMlazi on Monday. 

"It is alleged that the contract for a security company had not been renewed. A new company took over the guarding of the institute. It is alleged that several people then prevented students from getting into the campus. We believe they could be former guards. The situation was resolved,"Sewpersad said. 

He said protests in Spencer Road in Clare Estate and Mary Thipe Road in Cato Manor were service delivery related and had occured in the early hours of Monday morning. 

"Where ever police received intelligence reports of possible protests action was taken and police were deployed to monitor the area. Litter was strewn onto Mary Thipe Road. The road has been re-opened after DSW conducted a clean up,"Sewpersad said. 

Daily News

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