Gauteng 'quiet' as attacks abate

Attacks on foreigners in Gauteng seem to have abated, with police reporting that the situation has been “quiet” since Wednesday evening.

Police spokesperson Director Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said on Thursday that the heavy police presence and number of arrests made had quelled the violence somewhat.

However, reports indicate that renewed violence had broken out in the Ramaphosa informal settlement, outside Reiger Park on the East Rand on Thursday.

Ekurhuleni municipality spokesperson Willy Dlamini said incidents had been reported in the area. He was unable to provide any further information.

The anti-foreigner attacks broke out in Alexandra last Sunday and have since spread across the province and now into Mpumalanga, the North West and KwaZulu-Natal.

Alexandra resident Resident Florah Khwerana said: “People are tired, this is not going to stop now.”

She said the government and dignitaries who visited the township in the wake of the violence and condemned the violence were making the situation worse.

“They are living the good life ... they don’t know how we live.
It’s like the government is against its own people and this is making us more angry,” she said.

Khwerana said residents were very angry.

“How can everyone provide food at the police station for them and here there are our own people hungry. They don’t provide for their own.”

Karabo Mapetho agreed that the violence was wrong, but she too wanted foreigners to return to their homes.

“This fight will never be over until they go home,” she said.

Mapetho said foreigners were viewed as criminals by the local community and this was the main reason they had to leave. They also took jobs which could potentially be filled by South Africans.

A man identified himself as “Zest” said the idea that foreigners took jobs belonging to South Africans was “ridiculous”.

“I don’t agree. South Africans are hopeless in that way ... when they [foreigners] are gone, who are they going to blame for not having jobs?” he said.

He said there were too many foreigners, but this was the government’s fault.

“Why couldn’t South Africa build refugee camps? Instead they’re here,” he said.

“There is too many of them, they have turned the [Johannesburg] CBD into a refugee camp. You walk around and you don’t even hear one of the languages you speak.”

At least 42 people have been killed in the violence, an estimated 16 000 have been displaced and 517 arrests have been made. - Sapa

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