Fatima Hassan watched her cousinâ€
â€œWhen I got there it was a mess: gun shots, people wielding knives and knobkerries taking things from the shop,â€ she told The Daily Vox. â€œThe police were telling people to take our stock right in front of me â€“ that is when I knew they were not going to help us.â€
Hassan said she was desperate as she attempted to salvage what was left from her cousinâ€
While the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Mkosi-Malobane, has labelled these incidents as â€œcriminalityâ€ and not â€œxenophobiaâ€, Hassan thinks otherwise.
â€œThe people in the shop shouted and said ‘Here is a Somali,’ and I cried and I ran away. It was scary because out of all the people in the shop they targeted me and pointed me out. I did not know what they were going to do to me,â€ she said.
â€œIt is xenophobia, my sister. Yes, taking from our shops is crime but it is happening because we are foreigners. The police are supposed to stop crime, instead they tell people to take our stock,â€ Hassan said.
According to Hassan, the Somalis have tried to build a good relationship with the community by hiring in the area, and giving customers discounts and credit, but they are still being chased away.
â€œPlease help us â€“ Iâ€
Reports of police partaking in the looting have not gone unheeded.
At a press conference at the Moroka police station on Friday morning, Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba warned police offers to be careful they did not find themselves on the wrong side of the law, as reported by BizNews. â€œThey must resist from turning into criminals themselves,â€ Lesetja said.
– Featured image: Via Yusuf Abramjee on Twitter.