Residents: Alexandra is like a war zone

Residents compared violent protests to a war zone after clashes erupted with police.

Army trucks line up before entering Alexandra Township. Violence broke out yet again on Friday 9 May 2014. Picture:Vumani Mkhize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Residents of the Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, have described scenes resembling a war zone, after clashes broke out between protesters and police in the township on Friday night.

Watch: Alexandra: IEC offices set alight

Community members have accused police of using live ammunition to disperse them, but police have denied these claims.

While calm has since been restored, there's still a heavy contingent of officers in the area.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane confirmed the army had been deployed to the hostile township following post-election clashes.

Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) are accusing the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the African National Congress (ANC) of vote rigging in the area after ballot boxes were allegedly found at a centre and hidden behind and inside shacks.

Second Street was closed off to traffic on Friday afternoon following alleged clashes between EFF protesters and police.

Bags of dumped ballot papers were discovered by Lynnwood Ridge residents in a park on 8 May. Picture:iWitness.

Residents said clashes erupted between police and a group gathered outside the local court.

They said the group was there to show their support for 31 people arrested for torching a building on Thursday night, a case that's been remanded until Monday.


An Ethiopian shop owner who has three shops in the area said he is just happy to be alive after his shop was looted.

Alexandra residents, nothern Johannesburg set alight the offices of the ANC councillor and a local clinic during overnight protests on 8 May 2014. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

"There's no hope. There's nothing you can do. All of my three shops were broken into and burnt down, they took everything. I am left with nothing."

Watch: Election violence continues in Alexandra

Ali Mohammad's face was egged with grief when he saw his shop being set alight with three of his brothers still trapped inside.

He frantically pleaded with the army to rescue them and with sounds of gunshots emanating from the Madala hostel, army soldiers mounted a rescue effort and found the terrified men inside a freezer.

The traumatised shop owners had emptied out the contents of the freezer and jumped inside to avoid the flames.

From inside they made desperate phone calls for help.

While Alexandra is calm for now, the police and army are maintaining a strong presence.

Watch: Alexandra violence takes xenophobic turn