Not the scenes we wanted to see: Hundreds of frustrated locals have taken part in reportedly xenophobic looting, expressing their disdain for foreigners.
Streets in the CBD of Johannesburg have been brought to a complete shutdown for the second weekend in a row. The ugly scenes erupted on Sunday afternoon, after attempts to quell the xenophobic tensions between foreign business owners and hostel dwellers fell spectacularly flat.
Up to 10 people were killed in violent protests at the start of this month. It has already been reported that one person caught up in the chaos has been stabbed. Outgoing IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi was delivering a speech near Jeppestown – where last week’s troubles flared-up – but his words had little effect on the riled crowds.
Watch the “xenophobic” protests flare-up again here
We’ve been told that church-goers, shoppers and commuters have been warned to avoid the area around the MTN Taxi Rank and Johannesburg CBD, following these latest attacks against foreign-owned businesses. Jeppestown is has also been declared as a no-go zone for the rest of the afternoon.
The community are now allegedly demanding that Police Minister Bheki Cele – who has postponed a speech in the region on Sunday – and President Cyril Ramaphosa address them within 24 hours, and present a coherent plan to deal with the “effects” they claim foreign nationals are having on Johannesburg.
Police are currently on the scene trying limit the extent of the damage as they begin to restore order to the metropolitan area. A recently-issued SAPS statement confirmed that stun grenades and rubber bullets were used to disperse the anti-immigration demonstrations:
“A crowd of about 1 200 hostel residents gathered at Murray Park and shortly into the address by Prince Buthelezi, a splinter group disrupted the address and left before proceedings were concluded. Many shops are currently closed while police remain on high alert to ensure minimum damages and criminality.”
“Incidents of attacks on businesses have since been reporte in parts of the CBD where police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to restrain the growing crowd who attempted to move through the CBD via corner Bree and Twist Streets.”
Protesters from various hostels in eastern Johannesburg have begun marching along Jules Street. Carrying weapons, including knobkerries, the men sang, “foreigners must go back to where they came from”.