Police and people marching against immigrants were locked in a tense standoff in the Pretoria CBD on Friday morning, with stun grenades going off near the department of home affairs building.
A police helicopter hovered overhead and public order police officers weaved through the large crowd.
At one point, the group tried to push past the police.
Many in the crowd carried sticks, rods and other items.
One man told a News24 reporter on the ground: “The foreigners have real guns. They are selling drugs and are involved in prostitution and the municipality is helping them. They must leave.”
Some foreign nationals faced the group, shouting at them.
A group calling itself the Mamelodi Concerned Residents is leading the march to the home affairs department in protest against immigrants in South Africa.
Law enforcement officers will be deployed along the route and at venues where memorandums will be handed over, the police’s National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure said in a statement on Thursday.
Earlier on Friday morning, protesters blocked several streets in Atteridgeville, preventing residents from going to work and school.
Rocks were thrown and tyres were burnt.
Officials later cleared the debris so that traffic could flow freely.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the police could not confirm whether or not the protest was related to the march.
No injuries were reported and no arrests have been made.
“The looting of a truck was reported. We are still waiting for confirmation.”
Tshwane metro police spokesperson Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said they had received reports of several shops being looted, but also had yet to confirm the incidents.
On Saturday, residents of Pretoria West raided homes they alleged were being used as brothels and drug dens. They called for “pimps” to release prostitutes. Two houses were set alight.
On February 11, at least 10 houses allegedly being used for drug dealing and prostitution were set alight in Rosettenville, Johannesburg. Locals claimed Nigerians were behind the criminal activity. – News24