Joburg CBD has been a no-go zone for most this past week. With the up rise of the recent xenophobic attacks and shop lootings, it has been a rather sad and uncomfortable week for our country.
All these violent attacks started n Pretoria after a taxi driver was allegedly murdered by a Nigerian national. This soon turned into xenophobic attacks on Nigerian nationals as most citizens claimed they are running drug dens. The violence soon spread into Johannesburg where shops were being looted and burnt down, foreign nationals were being beaten and murdered in broad daylight.
Most will agree that this has easily turned into an opportunity for crime. Furniture stores, tuck-shops and even dealerships have been hit hard as all the violence continues. Most dealership owners in Malvern Germiston lost a lot of their stock due to the looting. Residents of the area were burning down dealerships and shops along Jules Street as most of these dealerships and spares shops are owned by Nigerians. Imagine a petrol bomb being thrown at 20 standing cars? In a matter of minutes that owner has lost their form of income, they have lost all that they own. And no one is being held accountable.
Most foreign nationals are now living in fear, not knowing when next people will strike. Local tuck shops have been closed for days now as the shop owners fear for their lives. Some closed down their stores but still woke up to find their shops has been looted.
All these attacks have also affected a lot of South African nationals who run small businesses. Store owners have had to close down their salons and street food take away spots in fear that they could be next.
My question is how long will South Africans result to violence a solution to all the problems we are facing as a country? Is all this looting and all the xenophobic attacks the solution to our problems? Must we know live in fear everyday that we could get hit by a stray bullet while commuting to work or caught in the crossfire while trying to buy a loaf of bread at your local tuck-shop?
The country is eagerly awaiting an intervention from our government. We want to be reassured as a country that all these senseless killings and violence will come to an end. We want to know that we will be protected walking our streets and will not continue to lose some of our resources due to the violence that is currently happening. A plan of action needs to be put into place, strategies and procedures need to be followed but all in all we need for the violence to stop!
By Noni Nchwe