South Africa

Foreign nationals up in arms in Durban

Hundreds of foreign nationals have marched through the Durban city centre. They were carrying placards with various messages calling for a united Africa.

The flags and colours of various African States, particularly Nigeria, were very much in evidence.

Other placards had pictures of people injured during the spate of xenophobic attacks in Durban earlier in 2015.

Chairperson of the Nigeria Union in Durban, Victor Okebungwn says they have endured various forms of ill-treatment from SA Police Service (SAPS) and Metro police. He says they open cases of intimidation with police but they are never told of the outcome of the investigations.

Okebungwn says, “It seems that these matters that we have been experiencing only ends when you open a case at the police station and no further investigation is done. Even if they are investigated, we do not get the outcome of the investigation to know if the police that have committed such an offence is being disciplined according to law. That is the reason we say let us come out today and cry.

“Let the world hear us and let the higher authorities look into this problem because South African law sees to the wellbeing of everybody that is in South Africa, irrespective where you come from.”

Amongst the marchers was the widow of a late Nigerian national who was allegedly shot dead by the Durban Metro police.

Zandile Onyedibie addressed the marchers, saying her husband, John, was shot dead three weeks ago. She says she is now scared of opening their business, which is her only source of income, because she is scared of being intimidated by police.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate has confirmed that it is investigating the case

Onyedibie says, “I am here because Metro Police shot my husband. I am here to foresee that this thing does not happen again and also those police who did this thing because they have not been arrested yet. They did this thing three weeks back, but they are still walking free and yesterday, they were passing by the shop. I was even scared to go to my own shop.”

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has confirmed that it is investigating the case. IPID acting spokesperson, Robbie Raburabu, says no arrests have been made at this stage.

Raburabu says, “Our office in Durban is investigating this. The allegations are that the  police went to a house of the deceased and they went to search for drugs allegedly and in the process, apparently the owner of the shop was not there and on his arrival, he found the police busy with his brother and then he intervened and in the process he got shot and killed. The case is being investigated. The post mortem has been conducted. We are still waiting for the statements from the police that were involved as to what actually happened. They were given a chance to go and consult with their legal representative.”

The marchers handed over a memorandum at the Durban City Hall and gave the KwaZulu Natal Community Safety MEC Willis Mchunu three days to attend to their grievances.

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