Shops closed down in Durban CBD on the 04 September 2019 amid reports of xenophobic attacks escalating to the City. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/ African News Agency(ANA)
Shops closed down in Durban CBD on the 04 September 2019 amid reports of xenophobic attacks escalating to the City. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/ African News Agency(ANA)

KwaZulu-Natal on high alert, foreigners close shop in Durban

By Sakhiseni Nxumalo and Karen Singh Time of article published Sep 5, 2019

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Durban - While xenophobic violence appeared not to have spread to KwaZulu-­Natal, fearful foreigners who owned shops in Durban’s CBD closed their businesses yesterday.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala’s spokesperson, Bongani Tembe, said that while KZN had not experienced any incidents of violence, it remained on high alert.

Yasmin Rajah, the director of Refugee Social Services, said foreigners might have closed their shops, and informal vendors their stalls, as a “precautionary measure”.

Yesterday when The Mercury drove around the CBD, most of the shops owned by foreigners were closed.

There was little police visibility, even though there had been threats on social media about attacks on foreigners in the city.

Shop owner Blessing Sengiyunva from Burundi said he was living in fear after seeing threats of looting on social media.

Sengiyunva said he had closed his two shops.

“I was outside my shops at about 10am, and everyone started closing their shops,” he said.

“Fearing for my life and my employees’ lives, too, I also closed. This has made me lose a lot of profit,” Sengiyunva said.

An Ethiopian shop owner said: “I closed before 10am and I’ve just opened now (3pm).

“I have rent to pay for my shop, and if I’m not making anything it’s going to be hard.

“Some people threatened us and told us they were coming for us.

“When two or more people walk in the shop, you become scared because you don’t know if they’re planning something,” he said.

A police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed that there had been no reports of attacks in the CBD.

The Mercury

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