Over 2,000 displaced in KZN xenophobic violence

Foreign shop owners fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs as angry youths torched their shops.

Provincial government in KwaZulu-Natal has set up four camps throughout the province to house foreign nationals who have fallen victim to xenophobic attacks. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

DURBAN - KwaMashu residents have described chaotic scenes as several shops were looted overnight during attacks on foreigners in KwaZulu-Natal.

Foreign shop owners fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs as angry youths torched their shops.

Almost 2,000 foreign nationals from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Burundi have been displaced as a result of the violence.

Some KwaMashu residents say they're shocked and dismayed at what they say is the senseless violence against foreign nationals in their township.

Five people have been killed as the attacks continue for a second week.

Areas affected last night include Umlazi, KwaMashu, Pinetown and a Dalton hostel.

Four refugee camps have been set up by the provincial government to house the displaced foreigners who say they are destitute, with some saying they want to go home.

A Zimbabwean living at one of the refugee sites has told Eyewitness News he has been made to feel like a criminal despite coming to South Africa to find legal work.

"The people from South Africa chased me out. We came here to work and not to steal or do a wrong thing."

Makeshift tents, heaps of litter and personal belongings lay sprawled as those displaced by the violence deal with the trauma of being chased from their homes.

One of the temporary refugee camps at a local Chatsworth soccer stadium has been set up by the eThekwini Municipality and is being protected by the police.

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu will today hold an urgent briefing to discuss the spate of xenophobic violence that has engulfed the province.


Mchunu is expected to announce a peace march which he will lead through the Durban CBD later this week.

The march will call on people to unite against the scourge of xenophobia that has erupted in the province.

Mchunu will be accompanied by eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo and foreign national representatives as they march in solidarity.

But one Zimbabwean man feels government has not done enough to stop the violence.

"My view is very clear: the government is aware that xenophobia is spreading and they're not doing anything because by this time, they were supposed to be all over it, but they don't care."