Foreign nationals accuse Municipality and SAPS of instigating xenophobic attacks

SABC NEWS SpazaP - Foreign nationals accuse Municipality and SAPS of instigating xenophobic attacks

Foreign nationals owning shops around Emalahleni in Mpumalanga have accused the Municipality and the South African Police Service(SAPS) of instigating xenophobic attacks.

Their shops were looted following an operation by the Municipality and police in townships around Emalahleni.

Some of them say they now fear for their lives.

Angry and frustrated foreign nationals say they have been forced out of townships around Emalahleni.

This is after the Emalahleni Municipality officials and police officers descended the area to ensure shop owners were complying with by-laws.

Many shops were shut down by the owners accused of selling expired products among others.

The foreign nationals claim the operation was only targeting foreign owned shops, “This is xenophobia attacks, some South Africans are operating here and even Mozambicans but we are being targeted.”

The shops were also looted by residents.

The Emalahleni Municipality has dismissed allegations leveled against it. Saying some foreign shop owners are not only selling expired foodstuffs, but operating in areas not earmarked for businesses.

Municipality Law enforcement officer Sibongile Mahlangu says, “Some of the foreign nationals are operating on residential areas which cannot be allowed, they must be on business allocated areas.”

Some of the foreign nationals have also accused police of refusing to open cases against the suspects who looted their shops and assaulted them.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi says, “Not even a single person was beaten here, we have been assisting those affected, the provincial commissioner deployed police to monitor the situation here.”

Residents of Emalahleni say, “They must go, they are costing our economy, we now have to go far to buy bread and airtime, it’s a big problem.”

Some of those affected say they now don’t have shelter and are relying on handouts.

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