Attacked foreign nationals seek shelter in Durban police station

Protesting residents at the Burnwood informal settlement in Sydenham, KwaZulu-Natal, forced about 50 foreign nationals out of their homes on Tuesday morning.
Protesting residents at the Burnwood informal settlement in Sydenham, KwaZulu-Natal, forced about 50 foreign nationals out of their homes on Tuesday morning.
Image: Mike Holmes

With just the clothing on their backs‚ a group of foreign nationals fled from their homes in Durban to seek shelter in a police station after they were attacked early on Tuesday morning.

Five babies were among the group of about 50 men and women.

KwaZulu-Natal police said residents were protesting at the Burnwood informal settlement in Sydenham at 2am.

"They were forcing the foreign nationals out of their homes. No one was injured or assaulted. Police had to intervene and monitor the situation‚" said Lt-Col Thulani Zwane.

However‚ Satish Dhupelia of the local community policing forum said that five people were assaulted and were taken to hospital.

"Around 2:30am‚ residents living in the Burnwood informal settlement started banging and kicking open the doors of shacks belonging to foreign nationals‚" he said.

He said the foreigners had been living in the settlement for "a number of years". It is believed that a group of unemployed South Africans living in the settlement were angry that they had jobs.

"The police are expected to negotiate with the protesters to try to resolve this so the group of people can go back to their homes‚" said Dhupelia.

With the assistance of the public‚ Dhupelia was able to secure meals for the displaced group.

"They have nothing. They are at the police station with nothing but the clothing on their backs‚" he said.

On Monday truck drivers operating in the vicinity of the Durban port were caught in a blockade by a group of people protesting against poor working conditions and local truck companies employing foreign nationals.

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