Tag Archives: mobs

Anti-Foreign Anger Continues Raging In South Africa

Thousands of refugees in and around Johannesburg faced another night of terror as mobs continued their attacks upon foreigners in their homeland. In Kagiso, west of Johannsburg, many foreigners, mostly women and children began arriving at police stations seeking safety from xenophobic mobs. Residents told the Mail & Guardian, that trouble started when residents held a meeting to discuss their fears. Within twenty-four hours, a mob assaulted the people on grounds they were foreigners who took their jobs and were planning to take action against them.

Somali and Zimbabwean immigrants were among those assaulted by mobs. Some foreigneers have lived in South Africa for years, but that didn’t offer protection against the virulent hatred of the mobs. One described being told by a group of men, “You are still here. We will get you.”

In large measure, failure on the part of President Mbeki to create a vibrant economy which would provide jobs and housing is a root cause of the current anger by poor South Africans. They feel themselves to be ignored and watch foreigners secure jobs. Some believe employers prefer hiring foreigners since they can pay lower wages.

Mobs Run Amok In Johannesburg

The continuing outburst of hate and anger toward foreign workers continued in Johannesburg townships as mobs beat and even set ablaze foreigners who were unlucky enough to get captured by the angry South Africans. A total of at least 22 pople are dead as a result of violence aimed at driving foreign workers out of South Africa. A police spokesperson said: “An update has shown 22 have been killed since th start of the violence last week and 217 arrested.” Last night two people were killed and dozens of shacks burned down in the area. In Kya Sands, north of Johannesburg, police were still working today to clear burning barricades from the road leadng into the township. A mob had set alight pieces of wood, furniture and even gas bottles to prevent police from passing.

Due to tensions, the police were refusing to escort frightened residents back into the township who wanted to collect their belongings before the mob took everything. Central Methodist Church Bishop Paul Verryn, whose church has been a place of refuge for asylum seekers, watched a mob approach the church, but police made them leave. “It’s so sad,” said Verryn. “They(refugees)need security, blankets, food and counseling. But most of all they just need to be treated as human beings.”

The Democratic Alliance(DA)said President Mbeki’s handling of the situation was intolerable. He has adopted the same attitude that he has displayed towards the situation in Zimbabwe which he insists is all peace and happiness despite the ongoing brutality displayed by his friend, President Mugabe. All he has done is set up panel, but according to Jack Bloom of the DA “we need to take action now and push for law and order. The government failed to act on the first attacks that broke out in Atteridgeville. that’s why the situation got out of control like it did.”

Perhaps, if President Mbeki had taken an active role to protect the rights of the Zimbabwean people, his country would not be dealing with a millon refugees from that nation.

Johannesburg Devastated By Riots

Downtown Johannesburg resembles a war zone after angry mobs of anti-foreign demonstrators ripped through it with their anger and hatred. Many downtown areas look like a wasteland as one sees makeshift barricades of rusty barbed wire, tires and chunks of concrete and shops stand open after being looted despite being protected by iron shutters which collapsed under the fury of mobs bent on their campaign of anger and hate. Police officers in bulletproof vests, with shotguns slung over their shoulders, stand guard at intersections, firing warning shots over the heads of woud-be looters. Overhead, one can hear the clatter of helicopters and in the distance is the sound of sirens blaring their signals of distress.

Nicole Jonston and Percy Zvomuya, reporting for the Mail & Guardian, saw groups of drunken men who smiled with glee at the sight of foreign workers forced to flee their homes. Sylvia Khumalo sits on a bench watching in disbelief. “This is terrible, we don’t understand what is going on. I don’t like it… I am a human being, they are also like me.” Not everyone shares her compassion to the foreigners, a group of young women pass by laughing scornfully as they shout, “Abahambe. Manje sizohala emarumini abo mahala, Let them go. We will live in their rooms for free.”

Compassion has not been a plentiful commodity as mobs go door to door, burning and beating, stealng e verythng from beds to food. The only safe place for the foreign workers is in the shelter of a police station. Admire Makhll, mourns “How can they take clothes from a baby? as he points to his 16-month old baby who is barefoot and bareheaded.

The reporters repeatedly heard from demonstrators they expected the election of Jacob Zuma to the ANC presidency means there now will be government action against the foreigners. The mobs question people in Zulu and if there is no response in that language he individual may be beaten.

President Mbeki has organized a panel to investigate the mob action. Of course, he refused to help the people of Zmbabwe in their fight against his old friend, Robert Mugabe, which resulted in a million fleeing their homeland for work in South Africa.