Foreign shopowners say they fear for their lives

“We live in constant fear, not only with theft-related matters but ultimately, our own lives too.” These were the words of Pakistani nationals living and owning shops in Komani in a letter to the local head of police and CPF chairman Mihle Gogela. In the letter, the Pakistan South Africa Association in the “Border zone” requested a meeting with the commissioner of police in Komani.
The association’s general secretary, Mian Mudassar Naseer, who delivered a copy of the letter to The Rep offices, said they felt let down by the police.
Naseer said burglary and theft incidents were reported to the police and criminal cases opened, but the rate of crime continued to increase. He said even when arrests were made they received no information from the police. “This letter serves to inform you that we, the foreign nationals living in Queenstown, request a meeting with your office to address matters concerning the escalating number of break-ins in our business premises/shops and theft of our goods. We are also of the opinion that only businesses of foreign nationals are being targeted by these perpetrators. Every day there is an incident of theft on a foreign national’s shop in Queenstown.
“We have reported break-ins and theft of goods to your honourable office at the Queenstown police station and cases have been opened. We have not received any responses on progress in these cases.”
A record detailing break-ins and threats was attached to the letter.
“In some incidents, perpetrators were apprehended but we were not informed if any of these were still in custody, on bail or released. We live in constant fear, not only with theft-related matters but ultimately, our own lives too.”
As law-abiding foreign nationals who operate their businesses according to the rules and regulations of the Republic of South Africa, the group says they deserve protection.
“We have tried within our means to render our services in honesty, transparency and a peaceful manner. We contribute economically to Queenstown by providing job opportunities to some unemployed people and donate towards projects involved in poverty alleviation. We ask for the Saps to protect us and our businesses as we strive to ensure a better South Africa for all.”
Komani police spokesperson, captain Namhla Mdleleni, said the letter has been received by the station commander. Mdleleni said cases of housebreaking have been registered and all are under investigation. “Police are appealing to anyone who can assist in arresting the perpetrators to please inform the police on 045-808 6029 or 08600-10111.”

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