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Foreign nationals attacked in JHB CBD

A group of locals attacked foreign nationals and three vehicles have been damaged with bricks.

Many South Africans gathered in Johannesburg CBD to show their support to foreign-owned shops folLowing the spate of attacks on foreign nationals on 15 April 2015. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.
Xenophobia,Xenophobia South Africa,afrophobia
Local

JOHANNESBURG – After warnings of xenophobic attacks, violence has now broken out in the Johannesburg CBD where a group of people have attacked foreign nationals.

Police and metro officers have been deployed to the Noord Taxi Rank where foreign nationals fear xenophobic attacks will spread to the area.

A group of locals attacked foreign nationals and three vehicles have been damaged with bricks.

A fight broke out in leaving one foreign national with a deep open wound on his arm.

A Malawian man says they cannot afford to take any chances as it seems the police are not going to protect them if violence flares up.

“I’m scared and I don’t want to die here and these people want to fight.”

The situation is tense and officers on the ground are monitoring the circumstances closely.

Foreign nationals have now closed their shops.

Eyewitnesses insist the latest attack is simply a criminal element and not the result of xenophobic tensions.

Several foreign-owned shops were closed on 15 April as many feared they might be attacked given the spate of attacks on foreign-owned shops in Durban. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN  

POLICE DEPLOYMENTS FROM PARLIAMENT

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, has announced more than 800 officers have now been deployed to various parts of KwaZulu-Natal to quell what the African National Congress has described as “a shameful assault on Africa's humanity”.

Several areas including KwaMashu and Umlazi have been affected by looting and violence in recent days the unrest spread to the heart of Durban yesterday.

The latest flare up of xenophobia in the province has claimed five lives.

A foreign national holds a knife following clashes between a group of locals and police in Durban on 14 April, 2015 amidst ongoing violence against foreign nationals living in Durban. Picture: AFP.

Phiyega says police officers have managed to restore stability to areas where flare ups have occurred.

Law enforcement officers have been mobilised from around the country to deal with the unrest but she says day to day crime fighting efforts are not suffering.

“We still have the capacity to respond and we will respond accordingly. Our issue is to ensure we save lives and we restore stability.”

The police commissioner maintains her officers are coping.

WATCH: Xenophobic violence rocks Durban’s CBD.

KZN PREMIER CALLS FOR PEOPLE TO EXPOSE XENOPHOBIA

The KwaZulu-Natal Premier has called on Durban communities to expose people behind xenophobic attacks and report them to the police.

Senzo Mchunu will lead a peace march against xenophobia alongside religious leaders in the city centre tomorrow following violent attacks on Zimbabweans, Malawians, Somali's and Pakistani's since last Friday.

The premier's spokesperson Sibusiso Magwaza said, “We want to urge people to desist from acts of violence and expose the criminals.” 

Magwaza says the government has not yet been informed about the cause of the attacks, and an advisory committee has been set up to get to the bottom of it.

Foreign nationals gesture after clashes broke out between a group of locals and police in Durban on 14 April, 2015 in ongoing violence against foreign nationals in Durban, South Africa. Picture: AFP. 

ANC CONDEMNS ATTACKS

The ANC has, meanwhile, labelled the attacks “unpardonable” and “barbaric”.

The ruling party's Keith Khoza says, “These are acts of criminality and we don’t expect our people to behave so violently.”
 
But the University of Pretoria's Centre for Human Rights says it’s not enough to release a media statement and has called for the government to make words matter to combat xenophobia.
 
The university says research and reflection, within government, political parties, and the broader society including academic institutions should be undertaken with a view to developing a comprehensive action plan to identify and address the root causes of the phenomenon. 

The university's professor Frans Viljoen said, “There should be a widespread communication in the country to say this is unacceptable.”

LISTEN: UNHCR's Tina Ghelli on the xenophobic attacks.


(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)

 

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