A xenophobic letter baring foreign nationals from operating businesses in a ward in Ekurhuleni following the looting of shops in the area which was duly signed by the ANC Councillor in charge of the ward has been raising a lot of dust in Katlehong.
However, the ANC councilor has denied the obvious intent of the letter which bears his signature.
The xenophobic letter, dated March 22 and signed by ANC Councillor Themba Rampai, has spread like wildfire in Katlehong.
According to the letter, the ward will not welcome foreign shop owners because they own and use illegal firearms and only export profit without contributing to the local economy.
The letter reads “Foreign shop owners are not welcome in ward 51,” adding that foreign nationals in the ward occupy and rent people’s houses unlawfully.
Rampai said the letter was not written by him but in his office after a community meeting.
“I didn’t write it, it was a memorandum submitted to the police after a community meeting on March 20,” he said.
Just last week, there was a repeat of the period in March when dozens of Katlehong residents forced themselves into the shops of foreign nationals.
When the mob got to the supermarket owned by an Ethiopian national Heliso Esatu, he quickly switched off the lights and pretended he was also looting like his neighbors.
Thus, he escaped the raging xenophobic mob and went straight to the police station.
“The shop was still open around 8pm and when I saw them, I switched off the lights and grabbed a crate of bread and ran away,” he said.
33-year-old Esatu is among hundreds of foreign nationals who were forced to leave their businesses in the Ekurhuleni township and run for fear of their lives three months ago.
Another Ethiopian Abe Haile, who had a tuck shop, in Katlehong, said they were alerted of the looming danger through the war songs and shouting coming from the mob.
The mob looted his shop alongside others, even went to the extent of taking the shop’s door, roof and fridge after emptying its contents. Most of them have been rendered homeless.