South African protests leave over 800 foreigners destitute

OVER eight hundred foreign nationals in South Africa’s Mahikeng in the North West have been left destitute after their businesses were looted and vandalised, during violent protests.  This as local residents called for North West premier, Supra Mahumapelo to step down.

Desperate, stranded and homeless, the foreign nationals were once prominent business owners. Now they have no clothes, shelter or food. They lost everything when Mahikeng residents indiscriminately looted their tuck-shops and supermarkets.

“We ask from the government we need a financial backup where we can start our shops again. Each and every one has family to look after. And if we get help from government it will be easy for us to go back to the community again,” said Ahmed Mohammed.

Although various organisations have stepped in to assist, more help is still needed.

“We have been able to provide them with 484 blankets to assist them in this time. And also to mention that it is not only SASSA that is providing interventions. It’s government, its different departments, different organisations, we have seen businesses coming to there for and providing whatever intervention is needed,” N West SASSA spokesperson, Nthabiseng Mosieleng.

“First assistance that we provided is shelter for our Ethiopian foreign national brothers and we also mobilised NGO like red cross and the community radio stations churches to send a message across for assistance in terms of blankets, mattresses, food and also as you can see doctors without borders have just arrived for medical assistance as well individuals who came in their individual capacity to provide,” says Pablo Mogotsi, Manager of Mahikeng Scouts Centre.

An Islamic school has been a temporary shelter for them but they have to vacate the building by Monday.

They’re now desperate for alternative accommodation.

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa


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