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.