Durban - A Congolese man living in Isipingo has been missing since Monday, after looters apparently beat him badly, shoved him into their car and drove away.
Durban’s spokesman for Congo nationals in the region, Shako Kumingo, said he only found out about his missing countryman, Mwanabeke, when he went Isipingo police station on Wednesday.
“I went to deliver food to those who are seeking refuge at the police station and they told me that Mwanabeke was last seen on Monday,” he said.
Mwanabeke is one of about 20 shop owners who were robbed of their belongings and assaulted by locals on Monday.
The xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals are alleged to have been sparked by King Goodwill Zwelithini’s recent comment in which he said they should return to their home countries.
Looters allegedly told the foreigners that Zwelithini said they should be gone by Wednesday.
King Zwelithini’s spokesman Judge Jerome Ngwenya denied this, saying the king was only referring to foreign criminals who entered the country and broke the law.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Thulani Zwane said the number of foreigners harboured at the Isipingo police station kept increasing.
There were now more than 400 foreign nationals at the station.
“A case of public violence is being investigated by Isipingo SAPS. The police are monitoring the situation. No other incidents have been reported in the province. No arrests were made, investigations are continuing,” he said.
Kumingo said the situation was heartbreaking because young children and women had been forced to leave their homes and feared going back.
He could not confirm that everyone had been accounted for except Mwanabeke.
“There may be more people missing. At the moment I’m trying to find his family so that I can get his picture to take to the police. We are really worried because witnesses said he was beat up quite badly,” he said.
Foreign nationals from other parts of the province have been delivering food to those at the police station.
“Some don’t have anything but the clothes on their backs so we are putting our heads together so we can deliver blankets,” said Kumingo.