Alexandra hostel dwellers express shock after raids

Police and the army held their second raid last night to quell xenophobic violence.

After a search, police move out of a room where a couple are living in Alexander during the overnight raid on 22 April 2015. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Residents at the Madala hostel in Alexandra have expressed shock, confusion and anger following a police raid on their premises.

Shortly after midnight, police officers along with the army arrived at the hostel to carry out government's plan to restore calm after sporadic incidents of xenophobic violence in parts of the country.

Those whose homes were searched last night say they felt they were being treated like criminals.

Locals have expressed conflicting views on the deployment of the army to the township while foreign nationals have welcomed their presence.

"I give thanks to the police because the police are helping. They're fighting with me," said a foreign national.

But South African nationals say the deployment reminds them of life under apartheid.

"Our grandparents were forced from their homes by soldiers but I never thought that in this day and age, I would be dealing with the same situation."

LISTEN: Professor Jonthan Jansen believes xenophobic violence does not reflect the mindset of all South Africans.

Residents at the Madala hostel say they're upset that government appears to be blaming them for xenophobic attacks in Alexandra.

WATCH: Police & army raids 'reminiscent of apartheid'

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says the level of organisation amongst the people committing xenophobic crimes in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal is the main difference between this year's wave of attacks and the 2008 violence.

Gigaba says the state has been able to minimise the loss of life this time due to a prompt response and deployment of police.

The minister says violence linked to xenophobia has now been brought under control through the additional deployment of the army.

He says the criminality must be separated from genuine concerns South Africans have about foreign nationals.

"The violence that took place now was not like the one that has taken place in 2008. There was a great degree of organisation. We were anticipating that they were going to do this."

LISTEN: Clinical Psychologist Thabang Tlaka speaks on the psychological & emotional effects of xenophobia on foreign nationals & their children.