The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Monday condemned the recent attacks directed at foreign nationals in the city centre of Durban.
The condemnation came after shops owned by migrants were attacked allegedly by members of the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), a military wing of the ruling African National Congress.
“The SAHRC is deeply concerned by the recent attacks on non-nationals, which commenced on Sunday … at the Soldiers Way Market trading precinct/area in the Durban CBD that left several non-nationals including women injured and traumatised,” the commission said in a statement.
The skirmishes could trigger similar attacks in other parts of the country if they were not prevented, the commission warned.
“The Commission remains concerned and extremely disturbed by these xenophobic acts which serve only to heighten and exacerbate the existing racial, social and ethnic tensions in the city,” the statement said.
MKMVA members “attacked and assaulted foreign vendors, petrol bombed some of their shops on Monday. The foreigners retaliated,” said Durban Metro police spokesperson Superintendent Zama Dlamini, adding that some shop owners were injured.