Today's Big Stories

Xenophobic-Afrophobic showdown between Durban and the Joburg CBD

Foreign-owned shops close down in the Joburg CBD, in a bid to avoid looting. Pic by: Mia Lindeque/EWN

Xenophobic violence: Durban Metro area calm, while JHB shop owners are on their toes

On Tuesday, police were involved in running battles with different groups of people after a wave of xenophobic violence. Immigrants living in Durban say they have now armed themselves, in case any more South Africans attack them. At least six people have now been killed after a wave of attacks on foreign nationals in the last few days. EWN's Alex Eliseev is at the Greenwood Park refugee camp in Durban:

It's been a bit quiet today, but some people say that it is quieter because the people who had instigated violence yesterday 'had accomplished their mission'. For now, it does seem like there is a sense of calm in KZN. There are so many emotions, mixed feelings with calls for peace and a lot of questions are being asked here at the refuge camp.

EWN's Vumani Mkhize caught an intense build up of violence in Gandhi Street in the Durban CBD:

This was a scene of utter chaos yesterday, with over 2000 foreign nationals from Malawi, Pakistan and various places took to the streets with phangas and other weapons. This was a reaction to their shops that had been looted by South Africans in certain communities. The roads were entirely barricaded - it really resembled a war zone. Police came to avert the situation, grenades were used, tear gas - it was really a very tense and volatile situation.

Acting Spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal Premier's Office, Sibusiso Magwaza:

Premier Senzo Mchunu has been working tirelessly to ensure that this situation is arrested. The Premier and Home Affairs Minister went and met with 11 Consulars from some affected nations. Tomorrow's march that is taking place in the city centre is one that will be lead by the Premier and the Mayor. The Premier hopes that it is not the majority of the City's people that are involved in these violent acts and the Premier will urge that these hooligans are exposed, because they mis-represent the image of the city as well as the province.

Meanwhile, the conversation about the role played by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini in all of this continues. A speech he made before the violence earlier this week - recorded by the Mercury Newspaper - translates as: 'I ask our government to help us fix our own problems – help us find our own solutions. We ask foreign nationals to pack their belongings and go back to their own nations.'

Political analyst and heritage expert, Dr Somadoda Fikeni:

There's no doubt that whatever the context, whatever the meaning, that it comes at a time when there are tensions on the ground, it would have the ability to trigger tensions on the ground. The opportunity would be used to react and that is what has happened.

Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Southern Africa, Tina Ghelli:

We have a team that's gone down to Durban to look at some of the responses in place for those that have been displaced. We'll be working closely with the municipal and provincial authorities to try and address those gaps. Whether it's called 'xenophobia' or 'Afrophobia', (what's happening) is wrong. There have been other attacks since 2008, but what we're seeing this time is a strong response from government, with the statements made by the President, the Justice+Security Cluster; we are seeing more effort and welcome that.

NCR seeking to protect consumers during asset seizures

A comment from the National Credit Regulator (NCR) this morning is that it is going to try and stop banks from selling goods seized from people who haven’t paid their debts at below market price. At the moment, creditors are allowed to seize assets from someone who owes them money. NCR Company Secretary, Lesiba Mashapa:

What we have seen through our industry-wide investigation is that the problem is wide-spread. Many consumers are now - as a result of the selling of their items - still liable for shortfalls. Some credit providers say that if a house or a car is sold at an auction, they don't have any control over the bidding process and as a result, the sale becomes a forced sale. What we do need to do is to find a way of protecting consumers. We should - while Parliament is still considering legislative provisions are necessary - also strike a balance to try and protect consumers.

Eskom's severe power losses at a time of load shedding

As Eskom has declared Stage Two load shedding around the country, it appears that large amounts of power have been lost due to both planned and unplanned power outages. EWN's Gia Nicolaides:

We do know that 9500 MegaWatts was lost due to unplanned outages and another 5000 MegaWatts was lost due to planned outages. These very old and ailing generators lead to the 5000 MegaWatt loss. If we have another situation like the coal silo collapse at Majuba, we could have a serious situation at our hands. With the various resignations and suspensions of top management and leadership, a lot of questions remain unanswered.

Build up to the Laureus World Sports Awards

In Shanghai in a couple of hours' time are the Laureus World Sports Awards will be handed out. EWN's Jean Smyth is there for us:

It's a pity that most of the sportsmen won't be able to make it out here tonight, save of course for the host of the show. There will be a tight tussle for Sportsman of The Year, with Novak Djokovic, Lewis Hamilton and others. These awards are comparable in the sporting world to what the Oscars are in film.


This article first appeared on 702 : Xenophobic-Afrophobic showdown between Durban and the Joburg CBD


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