‘Two bulls cannot rule in one kraal’

Ronnie Kasrils, Minister of Intelligence, said on Tuesday that “we are not just seeing spontaneous xenophobic attacks”.

“There are many social issues at the root of the problem, but we have reason to believe that there are many other organisations involved in sparking the attacks. We are currently analysing the situation.”

He did not name the organisations.

Charles Nqakula, the Minister of Safety and Security, told a crowd outside the Actonville police station on the East Rand, that in South Africa, “We want peace”.

“You must help us to protect our people. We must hold our hands together in peace and build our country. The factors causing the blood to spill are not worth it. There are people who might not have houses or jobs, but no one should attack other people. In this country the law guides us. Help us to build a peaceful country so that we cannot have violence.”

Nqaqula then walked away without answering questions.

Residents began screaming: “Mbahambe sizobashaya”, (They must leave. We are going to attack them tonight).

One of the bystanders screamed: “We do not want Shangaans here. They are criminals. They must go back home. We are going to kill them tonight. They rob us and the police accuse us of committing crime. Two bulls cannot rule in one kraal. Blood is going to spill if these people don’t leave the country.”

Shiyiwe Mathafane, a South African from the Ramaphosa informal settlement, told the Mail & Guardian Online: “My shack was burnt down on Saturday night and now I’ve got nowhere to stay. Everything that I had was burned in that shack and now I’m staying with a friend. Government must take these people home, so we can solve the problem.”

Esrom Mabirimise (53) has lived in a shack for 11 years in Ramaphosa.

“Two children came from school yesterday [Monday] and were killed by Mozambican refugees. The violence was finished and the attacks sparked everything all over again. They [foreigners] should go back home. We grow tired of them. We are not planning to kill them. It is their choice to shoot back. And we will never allow these people to come back.”

Sasa Lengene, spokesperson for the Reigerspark police station on the East Rand, said: “The situation is tense and it’s not getting better. There are young boys inside the squatter camp taking advantage of the situation by burning shacks and stealing.”

Manie Jike (42) said: “The refugees are seen as cheap labour and that’s why they’re getting our jobs. They don’t have ID’s so they can’t be arrested for the crime they commit. These guys are also people, and we are all from the same continent. We are all the same. We should be able to go to other African countries and feel safe. Violence is not a solution.”

Spokesperson for Nqakula, Hungwani Mulaudzi, said that a provincial task team was looking into helping refugees to get refugee status.

“There was a meeting today [Tuesday] to address to address these humanitarian issues and to decide to which conducive areas the fleeing refugees will be relocated to. The police have got the situation under control. Criminals from all over are taken advantage of the situation. Opportunists are using the desperation to fuel his or her own motives.”

According to Muluadzi, 24 000 refugees have fled from their homes since attacks started on May 11.

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