Arrest those who looted foreign shops: Mayor Kaunda
Durban - ETHEKWINI Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has urged the police to arrest those who are attacking foreign nationals doing business in the city’s informal economy, saying such criminality will not be tolerated.
Kaunda’s stern warning comes after members of Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), joined by homeless people, attacked foreigners and looted their shops on Tuesday.
The protesters demanded that foreigners leave the country, accusing them of stealing their jobs and selling drugs to the youth.
The illegal protest march resulted in the closure of several businesses. Most foreign-owned shops were still closed in the Durban CBD yesterday.
Kaunda said he had had an engagement with the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Bheki Ntuli, to urge him to intensify policing in the city.
“I have also spoken to the Durban Metro Police to make sure they increase police visibility across all corners of the city.
“There is also a need to increase police visibility even in townships as we want everyone to be protected,” added Kaunda. He said those who used violence should be arrested.
“What they did was a criminal act and they must be arrested,” he said.
Kaunda called on the marchers, who have been causing mass disruptions in the CBD since Monday, to engage with the leadership of the city, province and country to find better solutions.
“We call for unity of purpose. There is no reason why you should attack other people, destroy and damage their property, just because they are foreigners. We are a diverse city and let us all work with all people who are in the city.”
Kaunda said that the city would have to revisit their by-laws to respond to the outcry of small businesses regarding the return of the township economy to the locals.
He said the by-laws should stipulate that “these kinds of business should remain with the locals” to also allow them to partake in the economy.
“Part of the economic transformation plans that we have as a city is to restore township business to local communities. Some of our people in rural areas and townships handed their businesses to foreigners because they could not maintain them, we need to step in,” said Kaunda.
Regarding Tuesday’s protests, provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said that, according to public order police, no looting took place in their presence.
Naicker said on the instruction of the Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula, a criminal docket has been opened against the organisers of the match.
He said this was done so that they could be held accountable for the criminality that took place.
“We are requesting those that were affected by criminality following the march to please come forward and open criminal cases so that the perpetrators can be brought to book.”
Naicker added that police were on high alert and would be deployed should further criminality prevail.