Suspected ‘xenophobic violence’ shuts down Pietermaritzburg CBD

Shops have been forced to close and businesses have ceased trading for the day, after an alleged wave of ‘xenophobic violence’ ripped through Pietermaritzburg CBD on Wednesday afternoon.

Pietermaritzburg hit by alleged xenophobic unrest

Reports of serious unrest were first registered in Church Street. The shutters soon came down on buildings, after an alleged stabbing incident took place. Sporadic acts of violence elsewhere triggered multiple alerts…

Watch: Shops, businesses targeted in Pietermaritzburg CBD

Some of those who managed to capture the unrest on video have posted their footage online. Panic is seen in the streets, as crowds attempt to flee a chaotic city centre. Others take refuge away from the CBD:

Protest group rejects xenophobia claims

Several agencies and witnesses have reported that there was a xenophobic element to these attacks, with operatives from the Dudula Movement reportedly making their way through Pietermaritzburg. The group is staunchly opposed to illegal immigration, and were recently involved with scuffles in the Alexandra township.

Foreign-owned shops and informal trading spaces were targeted, and reports of at least one fatality are now reaching us. This is a developing situation, and we will share more information as we receive it.

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