We won't close shop unless courts or govt tell us to - foreign shop owner in KZN

The Premier's office in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) says law enforcement must step in if there is any violence or forced removals in KwaMashu and other townships.

Police in the northern parts of KZN are on high alert following threats made against foreign business owners.

The Northern Region Business Association had given foreign shop owners until Thursday to close their shops and leave townships.

In a letter, the local association accused foreigners of operating unfairly and not employing South Africans.

On Tuesday, KZN premier Willies Mchunu and other officials met with the association to try quell tensions.

Mchunu announced plans to regulate all township businesses through using an official registry and other measures.

Read more: Mchunu steps in amid brewing tensions over foreign spaza shops in KZN

The Premier's spokesperson, Thami Ngidi, says another follow-up meeting will take place on Thursday 24 May.

Ngidi says an agreement was reached between the local and foreign shop owners for cooperation.

He explains that the association has been frustrated with government inaction since 2015, when similar tensions resulted in xenophobic violence and led to the death of six foreign nationals and the displacement of 2 000 others.

Foreign business owner Jameel Mohammed says while no one has left their shops, many shop owners fear for their lives.

Mohammed laments that foreign business owners have not been able to register their businesses because of lack of official channels.

There's no one who's being moved out of their shops or being chased out of the township. Things are as we agreed on [Tuesday] 15 May.

Thami Ngidi, KZN Premier spokesperson

The security cluster is on the ground and we are hoping that it is going to do its work if there are any forces that might want criminality.

Thami Ngidi, KZN Premier spokesperson

These business people have disappointment with the government, but they are using us as a tool to bring government to the party.

Jameel Mohammed, foreign business owner in KZN

There's no one to register the businesses for us. It's not our fault. We are ready to register and follow the laws of the country.

Jameel Mohammed, foreign business owner in KZN

Government promised us nothing is going to happen, we haven't closed shop. We will not close shop unless we have a letter from government or court order to shut down.

Jameel Mohammed, foreign business owner in KZN

Listen to the KZN Premier's spokesperson and a foreign business owner on the situation:


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