The Citizen/Sapa, 11 July 2008

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A pregnant Congolese woman is in a serious condition after being beaten, allegedly by a guard at Durban’s City Hall, the Mercury newspaper reported on Friday. She was one of nearly 100 people, believed to have been displaced by xenophobic attacks, protesting at the hall on Thursday demanding funding and accommodation from the municipality after being kicked out of a hostel. The woman was taken to a local hospital in a serious condition. Part of the assault was reportedly captured on a cellphone. Metro police spokesman Superintendent John Tyala told Sapa on Friday that they were unaware of the assault. “If there is a crime, people must report it so we can investigate. We understand there was a commotion but we have no knowledge of a woman being beaten,” he said. Spokesman for the group, Hulubatu Akyamba said they had been told by the municipality last week that they were to be sheltered at a building on Dr Yusuf Dadoo Street. “But on Monday we were told that the municipality would stop paying and we would have to pay ourselves, but we have no money,” he said. “They (the municipality) tell us that the xenophobia crisis is over but we are still scared for our lives,” he said. Municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe was quoted in the report as saying that it was not the city’s responsibility to help the group.