29 February 2016
A group of residents of Endlovini informal settlement in Khayelitsha closed down a Somali shop at the weekend after a protest. Residents claimed that the Somalis did not have approval from community leaders to set up the shop.
But by Monday the shop was open again.
Linda Mtenjwa, who rented out his place to the Somalis for the shop, dismissed the allegations that community leaders were not consulted. Mtenjwa said he himself had consulted community leaders who had signed a letter approving the shop.
“I used to run my own shop here but I decided to close this shop and opted to open the shop in Site B [another part of Khayelitsha]. And I thought I should rent out this property of mine to Somalis who were keen to run a shop. I do have a letter signed and it has stamp of the community, allowing me to let the Somalis operate,” he said.
Mtenjwa said he had pleaded with the community leaders to set up a meeting and find a solution. But some residents and community leaders had wanted him to close the shop first and he had refused. The residents gathered at the shop on 27 February and chanted that they were giving the Somalis “a minute” to pack their belongings and leave the area.
Mtjenjwa said he would not close the shop. “I will never chase away these Somalis because they pay rent and if I chase them away, who will give me that rent?” he said.
Zuko Mafu, a community leader, said there were 32 Somali shops in Endlovini and the leaders and the community had agreed no more would be allowed. He told GroundUp that the people who had approved the shop were no longer recognised and had been demoted a long time ago, but they had refused to return the community stamp.
Mafu said the shop-owner Mohammed Amed had been called to a meeting but he had been “very rude”.
Amed denied this.”They are just making up things,” he said.