Fresh Violence Erupts In JHB CBD, As Hostel Residents Snub Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s Call For Calm

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Riyaz Patel

A crowd of mostly hostel residents disrupted a speech in Johannesburg by veteran politician Mangosuthu Buthelezi who was trying to quell tensions following the recent wave of deadly riots and xenophobic attacks.

Buthelezi was heckled and had to sit down for a moment as the multitudes walked away from the stage during his speech.

This, as Police Minister Bheki Cele postponed a planned imbizo with the community, saying some indunas had to attend the annual reed dance in KwaZulu-Natal.

The imbizo is aimed at finding solutions to restoring calm in areas affected by violent crime.

A large crowd then marched menacingly through Jeppestown to Braamfontein, and then onto the CBD carrying an assortment of weapons chanting “foreigners must go back to where they came from.”

The president of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, Adetola Olubajo, told Nigerian online news platform, PUNCH, that two people have been stabbed in the fresh wave of xenophobic attacks.

Olubajo said he could not speak on the nationalities of the victims or the severity of the injuries, as the police had yet to reveal the victims’ identities.

“It’s confirmed that two people were stabbed by MTN Taxi Rank and Jeppe Road in Johannesburg Central Business District and we have informed the Consul General of Nigeria in Johannesburg and the Police in Jeppestown,” he said.

Johannesburg community leaders meanwhile, said they are giving President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cele 24 hours to address their grievances on undocumented illegal foreigners, EWN reported.

Police said one person was stabbed to death in the Johannesburg inner city. Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubela also confirmed that five people had been injured, News24 reported.

Several shops were forced to shut as the protesters damaged property and looted several businesses.

At least 10 people, two of them foreign nationals, have been killed in the violence which erupted last Sunday.

South Africa has become a magnet for migrants from other parts of Africa because it has one of the continent’s biggest and most developed economies. But there is also high unemployment in South Africa and some people feel foreigners are taking their jobs, fuelling the tension.

“There can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries.”

PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

Nonetheless, a diplomatic row ensued with Nigeria’s government being particularly vocal in its condemnation of the violence.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari sent an envoy to South Africa to “express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens.”

President Ramaphosa, addressing the nation last week, called for the arrest of those involved in the spate of attacks targeting foreign-owned businesses in the country.

Ramaphosa said he told a security cluster meeting to stop “these acts of wanton violence.”

He said there was no justification for the attacks and warned that violence on foreign businesses could trigger xenophobic attacks against South Africans living abroad.

“There can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries,” Ramaphosa said.

“We are against xenophobia. These attacks are completely against the rule of law,” South Africa’s president underlined.

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