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KZN Gov struggles to defuse tensions between locals and foreign business owners

The New Age 2018-05-17 09:44:58
What’s the buzz: Mustafa, a local khat exporter based in Awaday, Ethiopia, examines fresh khat brought to the market in Awaday which is the biggest town for Khat growing and export to, among other countries, Somalia, Djbouti and also Arab States. Picture: AFP

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government is scrambling to defuse tensions between locals and foreign small business owners.

This is after the North Region Business Association (NORBA) issued an ultimatum for foreign traders, instructing them to close their shops and vacate the township.

provincial spokesperson Thami Ngidi said the local business association is concern about the mushrooming of unregistered spaza shops which they argued has affected the profitability of businesses already operating.

“Government has made an undertaking with the association to ensure all spaza shops and other small business are registered. According to our knowledge the ultimatum issued by the local business association instructing foreign spaza shop owners to vacate the areas has been lifted,” Ngidi said during a radio interview with Power FM on Thursday.

NORBA spokesperson Mlungisi Mncube, however, denied that the ultimatum to chase away foreign spaza shop owners had been lifted, adding that they have been appealing to Government to regulate the sector for some time with no success.

During an urgent meeting convened by Premier Willies Mchunu in KwaMashu, parties reportedly resolved to conduct fresh verification of all spazas operating in the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) area and to start regulating the entry of new entities.

The meeting set a deadline of May 24 to start the process to close down all illegal spazas in the INK area.

The threats to forcefully shut down foreign-owned shops in the INK area were allegedly circulated by members of the North Regional Business Association (Norba), which also attended the meeting on Tuesday alongside eThekwini deputy mayor Fawzia Peer and government business leader Sihle Zikalala.

Norba, through its representatives said it was unhappy with the “mushrooming” of spazas in the INK area, saying they had overrun local businesses, forcing many to close down.

-Afro Voice