Ethekwini Inner North Cluster interacted with shoppers and mall staff at Ithaca Centre and Bridge City in KwaMashu during a crime awareness campaign. File Picture: SAPS
Ethekwini Inner North Cluster interacted with shoppers and mall staff at Ithaca Centre and Bridge City in KwaMashu during a crime awareness campaign. File Picture: SAPS

DA warns against business ‘mafia’ threatening the reopening of KZN businesses

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Aug 2, 2021

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DURBAN - The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has called on the provincial government to investigate allegations of illegal groupings intimidating businesses across the province which has stalled the reopening of some shops.

“The DA is informed of one of these mafia-style organisations who are allegedly threatening businesses at the Ithala Centre in KwaMashu, Durban, and other affected areas in the province.

“KwaMashu was one of the worst hit areas with no shopping centres spared. Currently, local residents are unable to shop anywhere in the township,” said the party’s provincial leader, Francois Rodgers.

In July, KZN witnessed widespread looting and destruction that led to malls being burned.

“It is alleged that stores like Shoprite supermarket have restored their premises at the Ithala Centre and are ready to open to serve the community. The problem is the mafia-style so-called forums that are allegedly stopping the supermarket from opening because they don’t want to allow members of the Indian community to work in the store or the centre,” Rodgers said.

He said they have heard that these groupings are demanding that unless they are included financially in the rebuilding of the destroyed shops and centres, they will stop all construction.

This type of criminal intimidation is unacceptable and should be stopped in its tracks, he said.

KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs spokesperson Bheki Mbanjwa, said the department was on record as drawing a distinction between criminal groups seeking to extort benefits from legitimate business and those who genuinely seek opportunities in a lawful way.

“The former is a matter of law enforcement, but with regards to the latter, the department will apply its facilitation instrument. In pursuance of the latter, we have made contact with businesses with a view of setting up a platform for engagement,” Mbanjwa said.

THE MERCURY

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