News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Saturday February 24th 2018

Somali shops closed, looted as 2008 trading agreement enforced in Khayelitsha

CLOSED SHOP.. Somali trader Mohamed Abdulahi said he was threatened by a large group of residents on Wednesday who told him to close his shop and leave the area. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCN

On Wednesday this past week at least five Somali-owned shops in Khayelitsha were forced to close as the Zanokhanyo Business Association enforced a 2008 agreement that no new foreign-owned shops should operate in the township following the May 2008 xenophobic attacks.

The two Somali-owned shops in Harare that stayed open were looted.

David Mohamed, owner of Brothers shop in Harare, said he lost all his stock to the thieves.

“I was scared when these people came here, I thought they wanted to attack me. Next thing (another) group of people came. I had to run. I left the shop open and when I came back everything was gone, people were helping themselves,” he said.

Residents and Somali traders said a group of men and women visited a number of Somali-owned shops in Harare, Makhaza and Makhaya on Wednesday and gave the owners two days notice to pack their stock and leave the area.

Before the warnings were issued the Zanokhano Business Association and a group calling themselves the SAPS community crisis committee met at the Harare police station where a decision was apparently taken to issue the warnings.

“We have the right to close the shops in terms of the agreement we had in 2008 after xenophobic attacks. It was agreed that no more new Somali traders should operate around Khayelitsha,” said Mfundisi Mbekwa, who claimed to be chairperson of the SAPS community crisis committee.

Mbekwa refused to give more information about the 2008 trading agreement, saying only that another meeting would be held on Tuesday.

A South African local business woman who attended the meeting, but refused to give her name, said the Somali traders had to “pack up and go” by this weekend.

“We are suffering because of them. Police are aware of the agreement, but are failing to do their job of closing the (new) shops.”

She alleged the police were being bribed by the Somali shop owners and the local business owners would take matters into their own hands.

Somali trader Mohamed Abdulahi said he chose to close his shop on Wednesday following the threats.

But Abdulahi said he was not leaving the area.

“I’m not leaving I have every right to be here.”

He said a group of men came to the shop and told his brother, who was running the shop, to close and leave the area within two days.

“We were not given an explanation, they said we must pack everything and leave. We are here to work, we have not robbed anyone, I don’t understand what their problem is.”

The owner of the house Abdulahi rents said the local business owners were “criminals” who wanted to “steal” from the Somali traders.

Somali Retailer Association spokesperson Abdi Aden said “several” Somali-owned shops had been closed since Wednesday.

However, Aden said there were always “a problem” when a Somali trader opened a new shop and he supported the enforcement of the 2008 trading agreement.

Police spokesperson, November Filander said police could not confirm that Somali-owned shops had in fact been closed by “the mentioned group”.

However, he said there was “no such law, called for during 2008, regarding the closure of Somalian or any other shop for that matter”.

“It must however be stated that there is a Business Act in place that only deals with traders trading with or without a license. It is law to in fact be registered and/or licensed to trade as a business,” said Filander.

He said groups or individuals who forcefully closed businesses would “be treated with by the full force of the law and arrested”.

Charges of intimidation or vigilantism could be opened against them. – West Cape News

Tags: Abdi Aden, Brothers shop, David Mohamed, Harare, Khayelitsha, Makhaya, Makhaza, May 2008 xenophobic attacks, Mfundisi Mbekwa, Mohamed Abdulahi, November Filander, SAPS community crisis committee, Somali Retailer Association, Somali-owned shops, Zanokhanyo Business Association

Reader Feedback

2 Responses to “Somali shops closed, looted as 2008 trading agreement enforced in Khayelitsha”

  1. Martin Manzini says:

    LOCAL VS FOREIGN OWNED SPAZSHOPS

    We are experiencing the same problem in the Klerksdorp area and all over South Africa about this foreign owned shops in the townships. We don’t have social problems with our visitors they are humans like us but when they start taking our livelyhood from us it becomes a huge economic problem.

    During the dawn of democracy the Government outlayed some programmes to protect and elevate the previously disadvantaged communities or individuals economicaly in the form of BEE and others. The Hawkers and the informal businesses were never considered. The transformation in this sector was not up to speed the Local Economic Development agencies did not do its jop properly. You ask an average person in this sector they don’t anything about it.

    The Govement of the day crated this xenophic attacks because they never had any intergration programs they were and are busy enjoying the gravy train. Look againg at our constitution is that one of Banana republic. Certain sections and clauses clash so that being the case is like there is no law for the foreigners because of these loop holes. One of the requirements of the foreigner to operate a business in our country is to put R2,5 Million on the table. Are you telling us that these foreigners are so rich that when they come to South Africa they choose to compete with us by running Spaza Shops?

    Common buddy government don’t you see that you are selling the poor people of this country. We know that we talk with you we demonstrate but you have chosen not to hear and see the frustration of the poor people. Now recently there marches all over the country about the e- Toll and Labour Brokers – you chose not to see. Who gives you the mandate, the people! Where is democracy here maybe South Africa is demon cracy state ruled by satanists. All satan knows is to torment and punish his people.

    Our foreign brothers here are pushing their invisible agenda. I have personal experience with them. I used to get by with my Spaza Shop but now, is tough homeboy! I begged my Ethiopian brothers not to open their shops next to mine you know what did I get? ” Business is business MY FRIEND”. You can just guess how did that leave me. Every second,minute,hour,day I am preocuppied by this arrogance and don’t care attitude. Do I have any reason to like them? Can you say am I jelous of my foreign brothers.No!You see we are the victims of our hospitality-buntu. Look these guys are turning our townships into CBD’s. If they want to compete let them go to our towns and cities.

    Apartheid has done a lot of damge under the white man’s rule. Followed by the so called democracy, The Ellite(all races) oppressing the poor(all races). Now within these poor community we have another social order emmerging that of foregners dominating the informal economy in our townships. Do you see some similarity here. It is the oppression changing forms and hands.

    These foreigner they operate for long hours and this is causimg a social decay and moral degeneration in our townships. Many a time have seen our kids playing games by their Spaza Shops in the morning before they attand school and late in the evening. They are corrupting these innocent minds and destroying their future. Againg as a result of this long operating hour the very same kids are being assaulted, robbed and raped.

    The most contributing factor of this influx of foreigners in our country is corruption. From our borders to our immigration officials. Look at this foregners in particualar: Bangladeshis, Ethiopians, Pakistanis and Somalis, they are in their large numbers apart from our neighbouring countries. They come from the poor of the poorest countries. Running same type of businesses in the townships and towns. Sleeping in their shops, selling expired goods and illigal cigarettes. The list is endless. Does this not ring a bell? Somebody is behind this. These guys don’t own these shops they work for some one a kingpin. We see it as a refugee or political assylum problem, it is not buddy goverment perhaps you have seen it before me because your are bigger than myself, but you chose to down play it. South Africa is a CASH COW for these mafias. Before we wake up South Africa will be gone! We know of some of our local guys who help these foregners in humman trafficking. We know of the these cash paid marrieges arrangement but still our mute government is not doing anything.”Hallo…hello… South Africa Eish the government is on voice mail”

    Do you still remember BATHO PELE PRINCIPLES(PEOPLE FIRST)? Here in MATLOSANA MUNICIPALITY it works like this “FOREGNERS FIRST PRINCIPLE”. The Law Enforcement Committee closed businesses for both locals and foreigners in the townships which did not have licences or comply. Some of our local guys applied in 2009 and to date they haven’t received their licences. Foreign owned shops were closed for some few days and now they are in full swing! HAAI BO! what is happening here. Let me tell you how it works.It does not mean that from 1994 you are liberated yes politicaly. We need your votes because you are in majority to put us up there. We will promise you this and that in our campaigns and we will only deliver when we are near the next elections! By birth you may be South Africans but that does not make you the first citizen, you belong to the third race of this world! Don’t cry for what does not belong to you. Wait for Jesus to come back and you will get everything if you pass the judgement.”BE NICE” YES SIR! They found illegal ciggaretes, expired goods and the electricity was tempered with. Were they charged? NO.

    South African constitution has crated a land of milk and honey for foreigners at the expense of the poor people. These guys do not pay tax and bulk the money is geeting out of the country. The livelyhood of the poor people is directly and indirectly affected because their businesses and jobs have been stolen by Joe Foreinger. Please do not politisece this issue this is about socio economic balance. We helped you buddy government to be where you are and please protect our poor businesses in the townships and villages.

  2. Somalian says:

    IYoh! A i b o ! U wana cry nw lyk mampara!

Leave a Reply