'Worst nightmare': Phoenix residents share details of violence

Government has described the situation in KwaZulu Natal as volatile and nowhere has that been more keenly felt than in Phoenix.

FILE: Community members hold weapons as they stand at a road block in Phoenix Township, North Durban, on 15 July 2021 to prevent looters from reaching the community. Picture: GUILLEM SARTORIO/AFP

CAPE TOWN - Phoenix residents has shared details of her harrowing experience while rioting in KwaZulu-Natal continued unabated over the past week.

At least 117 people have been killed during unrests that played out in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng over the past week.

Government on Thursday said security concerns in these provinces had improved.

It has described the situation in KwaZulu-Natal as volatile and nowhere has that been more keenly felt than in Phoenix.

The area is predominantly Indian, and residents believe there is a concerted effort to direct looters to target them, sparking racial tensions and panic.

“It's one of the worst nightmares. It feels like a dream and you want it to be over,” said one resident.

READ MORE: Ntshavheni: SANDF, SAPS deployed in Phoenix after reports of racial conflict

Residents have described their neighbourhood as something of a warzone with makeshift barricades in the roads and residents standing guard through the night.

And one woman said those guards had been asked to abandon their posts.

“They don't want to, unless they get like the army, you know, disposed to them. Then yeah, they’re willing to take it out but for now, no, they're not going to do that.”

Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the area on Thursday and again on Friday morning and assured residents that things would soon be calm, citing the presence of the SANDF.

But one resident said they had seen just one SANDF patrol vehicle in the area and that was only passing through.

The growing racial tension is on government's radar and residents said they lived quite peacefully with black neighbours for decades, but that sporadic violence was being driven by elements within each community who were choosing violence over peace.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.