February 12 2017 – MORE than 20 non SA citizen shop owners in Bankhara Bodulong near Kuruman, in the Northern Cape, have been left destitute and without food for three days.
The Gasegonyana Municipality has provided temporary shelter for the group since January, after 26 shops were torched and looted by the community.
The violence followed an incident in which a 16-year-old was killed allegedly after having stolen bread from a foreign-owned shop.
The foreign nationals are expected to vacate the temporary shelter within a week.
Bangladeshi national, Romney Mohammad, has been living in South Africa for more than 10 years.
He was forced to leave his South African wife and 6-year-old son at home to take refuge at a place of safety.
Mohammad and other foreign nationals have had to share a confined space since fleeing.
Foreign National Romney Mohammad, says, “We want to go back to our own place – police to protect us and the municipality to assist us to go back to our own family. Our children and our wives are also suffering. We have nothing now. They say we should take our wives to Bangladesh. How can I take my wife from here, while the last 12 years I have been living in Bankhara?”
Legally married to a local citizen, he possesses title deeds, but this has brought no relief to his situation.
Angry residents maintain that they will boycott foreign-owned shops.
Resident Leader Nkapesa Lesley, says, “As the community, we’re still adamant that the foreign nationals should leave our community. There’s no trust amongst us. We don’t know what will happen at the end.”
The municipality says it’s working to resolve the matter.
Gasegonyana Municipality Mayor Neo Masegela, says, “After they have left the SAPS main hall, we have been responsible for catering of the foreign nationals. Temporarily for five days, they will be back to the SAPS main hall as per our understanding and discussions.”
More discussions between the municipality and members of the community are expected to continue on Tuesday.