Turffontein residents in southern Johannesburg have returned with violence against foreign-own agencies accusing them of involving in the hijacking of houses which they say are turned into drug dens and brothels.
The protesting Turffontein residents who marched out in their numbers declared themselves as non-xenophobic but would however not allow non-citizens to desecrate their land with their illegal drug stores.
The residents led their violent protest as they called for estate agencies owned by foreign nationals in the area to be shut down, pending investigations into their legality.
The group said they are not xenophobic but they don’t understand how foreign nationals manage to own several residential properties in the area. They said the foreigners hijack their houses and use them to commit and harbor different kinds of crimes.
The police surrounded the protesters on Wednesday, firing bullets at them after repeated requests to disperse were ignored.
Organiser Reba Motseoakhumo who looked angry at the situation said: “We are all going to check whether these houses were acquired legally or illegally.”
But Joseph Enendu, who defended foreign nationals in the area said they run legitimate businesses and they will welcome any investigation.
“We are going to close our businesses for a week to give them a chance to prove all those allegations.”
The stand-off between Turffontein residents and foreign nationals in the area comes after International Relations Minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane met with her Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama in Pretoria to discuss bilateral relations that would see the end of future xenophobic attacks.
The early warning unit comprised representatives of the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, police, immigration, representatives of Nigerian High Commission, consulate and the Nigeria union in South Africa.
The Nigerian delegate, together with her South African counterpart also had positive discussions on how to protect Nigerians and their property with the help of the Home Affairs Department.
Meanwhile, the protesting Turffontein residents who turned down police plea to tune down their violence, said they understand that not all foreign nationals are criminals, but those who go against the law, must be dealt with.
Foreign nationals present there however, noted that they are not criminals and argue that their businesses have helped create employment for South Africans.
In February this year, some parts of the country, including Tshwane, Pretoria and Rossetenville in southern Johannesburg were plagued by anti-immigrant attacks with locals accusing foreigners of various crimes and demanding they leave the country.
Jeppestown, a town in Johannesburg was also reportedly looted as residents demonstrated against foreigners who own car workshops and spaza shops in the area, accusing them of committing crimes such as drug dealing and prostitution.