Peace is the watch word and the outcome expected from the peace walk of Thursday which was attended by quite a large number of peace-loving South Africans, but serenity seems to be far from the country as more attacks have been recorded in Jappestown over the night. It was reported that 12 people have been arrested while trying to loot shops owned by foreigners. Even as State Security Minister David Mahlobo vowed to bring instigators to book, some locals say they fully support the attacks on foreign nationals and will not stop until they’re gone.
This is a serious indication that there is more to these attacks than random violence as Jeppestown community members in central Johannesburg say since the government has failed to address their grievances, they will take matters into their own hands and that they will not stop until they get what they want.
The violence in Jappestown was quite heavy after the peace walk with many business looted and vehicles torched. There is less police visibility in the area and places where emergency services are still battling a blaze, started overnight, have been cordoned off.
Meanwhile hostel dwellers in the area have gathered on the street insisting that they want all foreigners out of the area. They say foreigners have taken all the jobs and accommodation, forcing them to live in shacks. They have vowed to continue with their action.
Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said Jeppestown in Johannesburg was the only place where violence was reported last night.
He could not confirm reports that some cars were set alight, but admitted that there were people targeting foreigners again.
Dlamini however, confirmed the report that“Twelve suspects were arrested for trying to break into foreign-owned shops.”but he went on to say “There were no reports of injuries.” This would be because foreigners around the area have taken refuge in the police stations where they intend to remain until they are sure that their lives are safe once again. A spaza shop owner says that despite the fact that he is South African, he is afraid as the attackers have proven to be unpredictable.
In the light of the continued attacks, countries like Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi and Somalia have expressing readiness to evacuate their citizens from South Africa if the ongoing xenophobic attacks are affecting them. The attacks on foreigners are making international headlines, with the United Nations saying it will issue an urgent statement. Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed says Nairobi is closely monitoring the situation.
The state security minister said in an interview with Eyewitness News that he suspected the attacks on foreign nationals that started in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to Gauteng, were part of a “coordinated effort” to disrupt the country and cause a deeper damage than was initially suspected.
On CNN, the minister for home affairs Malusi Gigaba said that the government is dedicated to bringing the violence to an end, and that there’s absolutely no justification for the injustice that have been meted out to the foreigners who have in one way or the other contributed immensely to the growth of the country. He also mentioned that the government is pleading with the foreigners to stay back rather than go back to their home countries, but he equally made it clear that for any country that wants to evacuate its citizens, that the South African government was ready to help them get back home safely.
On the plans for when the violence ends, Malusi said the government is putting plans in motion to help the foreign nationals settle back into the communities where they were prior to the violence.
Concerning the peace walk which ended in chaos, Broadcaster and Radio Talk Show host Eusebius Mckaiser said that the language of violence is something that could only be understood by someone who has a PhD in violence, which all south African locals seem to have. In all this, one thing he said was evident, The South African political cultural and religious leaders may not be guilty of influencing the violence, but they are definitely guilty of inaction.