Indian-origin residents in South Africa have organised armed groups to defend their families and businesses following the ongoing mob violence in the country since 7 July.
“We are forced to buy weapons and organise defence groups to protect our neighbourhoods. We are successful in business and professions and many locals are jealous of us. They just wanted an opportunity to loot us,” said doctor Pritam Naidu (name changed for security reasons) from Durban, a city that is home to one million Indian-origin residents.
Naidu said the local police has just been spectators and in some cases even joined the “loot-all, burn-all” mobs, who asked the Indians to leave.
“We are here for several generations. Now some Zulu vigilantes are asking us to leave saying this is not your country,” said Rajesh Patel, who runs a chain of grocery stores in Gauteng, one of the two worst affected provinces along with KwaZulu Natal (KZN).
In Durban alone, 50,000 businesses, mostly owned by Indian-origin people, have been destroyed.
Losses are estimated to be around 16 billion Rands, said Zanele Khomo of the Durban Chamber of Commerce.
The South African government said Thursday night the army has been deployed in the violence-hit areas and reservists have been called up.
It admitted that 117 persons, mostly Indian-origin people, have died in the violence.
It claimed normalcy is returning to Johannesburg, but the situation was still tense in Durban.
#SouthAfrica #IndianOrigin SelfDefence
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