Soweto shop owners want foreign business out

Shop owners don’t want foreign shop owners to return because business is booming for them.

FILE: A spaza shop in Snake Park where 14-yr-old Siphiwe Mahori was shot and killed has been bricked up by its owners. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Several shop owners in Soweto have told government they don't want foreign business owners to return to their community because business has been booming without them.

Hundreds of foreign shop owners were forced to flee the township to places of safety last month after their shops were looted and vandalised.

The unrest was sparked by the death of 14-year-old Siphiwe Mahori, allegedly by a foreign shop owner in Doornkop, who'd accused him of robbery.

The looting and violence spread to other parts of Gauteng and claimed at least six lives in total, including that of a baby.

The parliamentary committee on small business development and Minister Lindiwe Zulu met local shop owners in Soweto and Kagiso on Monday to listen to their grievances.

Many spaza shop owners say foreigners sell their goods at a much lower price, making it almost impossible to compete.

Thobela Ginya, a local shop owner in Snake Park, says since the foreign business owners have left the area his business is doing well.

"Now our stock is in demand since the [Somali owners] are gone."

But Zulu told shop owners communities need to work with foreign competitors.

"We can only say to the communities, they need to have a conversation that can give us a lasting solution to the problem."

The parliamentary committee on small business development says following its visit to the township, it will draft an action plan to help integrate foreign shop owners back into the community.

WATCH: SA spaza owners want foreigners gone