Protesters in Mahikeng are calling on all shop owners who are foreign nationals to leave the province.
“The problem with the foreigners is they are killing our kids with drugs and abortions. They are doing so many illegal things in our country,” protester Trevor Phelwane said.
Phelwane, however, denied that the protest was xenophobic. “We are not being xenophobic or what, but we are saying they must do business professionally.”
A large group of protesters gathered outside the museum in the town on Thursday morning. They held up placards, one of which read: “Every foreigner must go – burn their business. Go! Go! Go!”
Another read: “I’m a hawker and the foreigners are killing us.” Singing as they voiced their displeasure, the protesters also called for Mahumapelo to step down.
Several shops dotted around the museum were closed and there was a large police presence in the area on Thursday.
Another protester, Keoagile Mothibi, said there were no job opportunities in Mahikeng.
“There are no mines and factories in Mahikeng for our people to get jobs. The foreigners came in large numbers to our town and are causing a problem for our small businesses,” he said.
Mothibi was adamant that all foreign nationals had to leave the province.
“We want them gone. Their placards are all over the town and our town has become so dirty.”
Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said officers were “talking” to the protesters.
“They apparently have business related issues,” he said.
On Wednesday Mahumapelo announced that he would not be stepping down as premier or ANC chair of the platinum-rich province as he’d initially indicated. He would instead go on leave, appointing finance MEC Wendy Nelson as acting premier.