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Fearing for their lives, KZN foreign shop owners close businesses

Despite KZN Premier Willies Mchunu’s intervention, local business owners say they’ve not given an undertaking to allow their foreign counterparts to trade beyond Thursday.

A screengrab of Ethiopian businessman Jamal Mohammed. Picture: EWN.

KWAMASHU - Some foreign shop owners in KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have closed their shops ahead of Thursday’s deadline to pack up and leave the township, telling Eyewitness News they fear for their lives.

Despite KZN Premier Willies Mchunu’s intervention on Monday night, local business owners say they’ve not given an undertaking to allow their foreign counterparts to trade beyond Thursday.

The North Region Business Association sent a letter to the foreign shop owners earlier in May, setting the deadline and accusing them of overlooking locals for employment and operating their businesses unfairly.

In 2015, foreign nationals were threatened through a similar letter and then attacks followed in which six people were killed and 2,000 others displaced.

EWN took a drive around KwaMashu on Wednesday, where many foreign-owned shops are closed. The deadline for the foreign nationals to pack up may be on Thursday, but they’re already feeling unsafe as Jamal Mohammed explains.

“People fear for their lives. Some containers are closed in anticipation of what’s going to happen on Thursday (17 may).”

For locally owned shops, it’s a business as usual.

Police have told EWN they are keeping a close eye on the township.

WATCH: Foreign businessmen told to leave KwaZulu-Natal

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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