16 May 2018

South Africa: Police On High Alert in KZN Townships As Local Businesses Tackle Migrants

analysis

KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu arrived with MEC for Economic Development Sihle Zikalala at the KwaMashu police station where they met with leaders from both sides. Photo: Daily Maverick.

The provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal has been forced to intervene as tensions rise between local business groups and migrant businessmen in townships near Durban. KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu called an urgent meeting on Tuesday with all stakeholders at a police station in KwaMashu hoping to avoid the situation escalating into violence.

The latest round of tensions in the townships surrounding Durban comes after a local business association called North Region Business Association (NORBA) issued migrant businessmen with a letter instructing them to close their shops and vacate the townships by Thursday, 17 May. The townships mainly affected by this letter include Inanda, KwaMashu and Ntuzuma.

Large-scale xenophobic violence which broke out in Durban in 2015 resulted in the displacement of thousands of people and saw multiple deaths linked to the violence. Since the letter was issued, some of the migrant workers gathered at the police station as they fear a return of the violence if government fails to act swiftly and provide them with the adequate protection.

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