Foreigners should adapt to SA laws, says Orange Farm leader

"When you come into a person's house, you do as they do," said Gosiame Choabi, of the South African Council of Churches.

He encouraged foreigners to learn and adapt to the laws of the country.

"A visitor cannot come to my house and find that we sleep at 7pm and say we will now be sleeping at 9pm," he said.

Choabi was speaking at a meeting to welcome back foreigners who fled Orange Farm after being attacked several weeks ago. Around 120 locals and foreigners attended the meeting at the multipurpose centre.

Choabi said it was important for foreigners to note that South Africans had not completely recovered from the impact of apartheid. He said a platform of communication was needed between the two sides.

ANC Orange Farm chairperson and local councillor Simon Motha said a database was needed to monitor how many foreigners were running businesses in the area. He said those who attacked foreigners should be arrested.

Members of the local business forum said they were against the attacks on foreigners. They called on local and foreign shop owners learn to work together and to share their skills and strategies.

Alfani Yoyo, of the Consortium of Refugees and Migrants, said most locals complained that foreigners were failing to integrate themselves into society.

"People are complaining that you close yourselves up in your shops and containers," he said.

"You need to come out and mingle with the people you live with, the people who support your shops," he said.

Constable Shaan Motsapi, of the local police station, said the police's mandate was to protect everyone. He said discrimination was a criminal offence.

Residents were also given an opportunity to address the meeting. One man said he had a problem with foreigners opening shops in close proximity to each other.

He said this caused problems for him when he ran his own business, especially since his prices were not as low as theirs. Another local said parents should stop accepting goods which their children had stolen from these shops.

Another community member said she had health concerns, as some foreigners bathed in the shops from which they operated. Teshela Tefera, an Ethiopian shop owner, spoke about complaints that foreigners sold their stock at lower prices than locals. He said they got their stock at the same suppliers as South Africans.

"But we sell at the same price. We are not looking for high profits," he said.

He said they were willing to work with local business owners and to share business ideas.

Bangladeshi shop owner Tazur Islam said he had fled his country because of conflict, and he urged the South African government to intervene in the attacks on foreigners. Islam was not sure he would immediately re-open his shop.

A local resident, Gladys Nhlapho, said she was glad the foreign shop owners were back in the community. She said she approved of them as they gave her some items on credit.  – Sapa

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Guest Author

High Court strikes down ‘paternalistic’ lockdown regulations

The order of unconstitutionality has been suspended for two weeks

L’Oréal workers demand a shutdown of local plant, citing Covid-19...

The French cosmetics company’s Midrand plant has recorded 16 Covid-19 cases in two weeks

Protective equipment for schools in KwaZulu-Natal goes ‘missing’

Without protective equipment, schools in uMlazi, Pinetown and Zululand won’t meet the already delayed deadline for reopening

Press Releases

Empowering his people to unleash their potential

'Being registered as an AGA(SA) means you are capable of engineering an idea and turning it into money,' says Raymond Mayekisa

What is an AGA(SA) and AT(SA) and why do they matter?

If your company has these qualified professionals it will help improve efficiencies and accelerate progress by assisting your organisation to perform better

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday