MPUMALANGA, SOUTH AFRICA - 8 February 2010: The Siyathemba township in Balfour, Mpumalanga has been brought to a stand still as residents block streets and set tires on fire. It is reported that residents are demanding better service delivery and are also protesting over a mine that is hiring foreigners instead of locals. (Photo by Gallo Images
Competition tensions are escalating between local businessmen and foreign nationals who own businesses in Diepsloot.
Locals are accusing Somali, Pakistani and Ethiopian nationals of taking their “bread” away from them by having more shops than them and trading at very low prices.
They have also accused them of not being in possession of valid trading licences, not being tax compliant and turning RDP houses into spaza shops.
Diepsloot community policing forum (CPF) chairperson Sam Seale told The New Age yesterday that the forum had received several complaints from local businessmen that foreigners were “bankrupting” them.
Seale said new ways of encouraging foreign nationals to reduce their numbers were discussed at a meeting last week.
“We will be holding another meeting this weekend with all parties involved to reach an amicable solution,” he said.
Seale said the CPF supported the call to reduce the number of foreign-owned businesses.
“You will find, for example, one Pakistan national owning up to 10 shops in the area, making it difficult for locals to survive the competition,” he said.
Seale said they have invited a body that represents foreign businessmen to attend the meeting which will be held on Saturday at Diepsloot Extension 7 MPCC community hall.
Business and enterprise forum chairperson Baznaar Moloi said foreigners owning many shops in the townships and informal settlements was a problem about which the organisation received complaints from Sebokeng, Orlando, Soweto and Sharpeville to Daveyton on the East Rand.
Though Moloi did not say which trade law of the country was being undermined by the spread of foreign-owned shops, he insisted that locals must “have their share of the cake”.
Abram Mabuke, a local councillor, said complaints about shops owned by foreigners had become tedious.
“As the government we do not have a problem with foreigners having shops.
“They can have as many shops as they want as long as proper procedures are followed,” he said.
Mabuke said he will notify law enforcement agencies to be on standby to prevent any violence at foreign business owners.