VIDEO: Fresh xenophobic violence erupts as South Africans launch ‘foreigners must go’ protest in Johannesburg

Protesting hostel dwellers took to the streets stating that they wants foreign nationals to leave.

Protesting hostel dwellers took to the streets stating that they wants foreign nationals to leave. Photo: Penwell Dlamini

Streets in the CBD of Johannesburg have been brought to a complete shutdown for the second weekend in a row. The ugly scenes erupted on Sunday afternoon, after attempts to quell the xenophobic tensions between foreign business owners and hostel dwellers fell spectacularly flat.

Up to 10 people were killed in violent protests at the start of this month. It has already been reported that one person caught up in the chaos has been stabbed. Outgoing IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi was delivering a speech near Jeppestown – where last week’s troubles flared-up – but his words had little effect on the riled crowds, The South African reported.

We’ve been told that church-goers, shoppers and commuters have been warned to avoid the area around the MTN Taxi Rank and Johannesburg CBD, following these latest attacks against foreign-owned businesses. Jeppestown is has also been declared as a no-go zone for the rest of the afternoon.

The community are now allegedly demanding that Police Minister Bheki Cele – who has postponed a speech in the region on Sunday – and President Cyril Ramaphosa address them within 24 hours, and present a coherent plan to deal with the “effects” they claim foreign nationals are having on Johannesburg.

In the build up to the protest, residents of hostels in eastern Johannesburg earlier on Sunday marched along Jules Street in the area, demanding that  “foreigners must go back to where they came from,” Sowetan Live reported.

The marchers, who carried weapons such as knobkerries, were heading to Jules Park where former IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi is expected to address them. Last week shops owned by foreign nationals were looted and some set alight in the area.

Violence quickly spread to other areas in Gauteng province, causing havoc for police and government.

The group of hostel-dwellers has maintained it wanted foreign nationals to leave, without indicating clear reasons for their call. The attacks on foreigners, more so the traders, in the past week have been condemned by government and President Cyril Ramaphosa. By Friday, at least seven people had died and over 400 people arrested over the violent clashes.

However, the leadership of hostel dwellers in Johannesburg has asked the government to engage the citizens about finding solutions to the clashes with foreign nationals. Siphiwe Mhlongo, chairman of hostel headmen (izinduna) in Gauteng, who spoke to Sowetan in Malvern, eastern Johannesburg.

“We are not happy with how government has tried to resolve the problems that the country is facing. The government must come speak to the people and explain what it is going to do with the foreign nationals who are here illegally,”Mhlongo said.

He said the residents were angry at jobs being take by foreign nationals, unhappy about drugs and RDP houses being owned by foreigners. “Everyone who is in South Africa has that feeling that foreign nationals must go back home. But we don’t say foreign nationals must be beaten up; we are leaders.”

Mhlongo was speaking in Belgravia, eastern Johannesburg, ahead of Buthelezi scheduled address on Sunday.

Buthelezi is expected to call for calm among the Zulu people, who are in the majority among the residents in hostels which were formerly men’s only residential quarters.

Sowetan LIVE

@SowetanLIVE

Protesters from various hostels in eastern Johannesburg have begun marching along Jules Street. Carrying weapons, including knobkerries, the men sang, “foreigners must go back to where they came from”.

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