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KZN govt calms tensions between foreign shop owners, locals

Premier Willies Mchunu met with business owners in KwaMashu after the local business association sent a letter to foreigners saying they must close shop and leave.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu. Picture: @kzngov/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The KwaZulu-Natal government has moved to calm tensions between foreign and local shop owners by announcing that it will regulate all businesses in townships to ensure fair competition.

Premier Willies Mchunu met with the business owners in KwaMashu on Tuesday night after the local business association sent a letter to foreigners giving them until Thursday to close shop and leave the township.

They’ve accused foreign nationals of operating illegally and not employing South Africans.

At least six foreigners were killed and over 2,000 displaced during xenophobic attacks in the area in 2015.

Mchunu says government has reached an agreement between local and foreign business owners.

His spokesperson Thami Ngidi said: “All businesses should be registered properly.”

But the local business association says it still wants the community to have the final say on tomorrow’s deadline for foreigners to close shop.

The group's Vusi Msomi explained why they wrote a letter instructing foreigners to leave the township.

“We said they must close shop and leave. None of them have hired South Africans.”

Police in the area say they are on high alert.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)

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