MOBS rampaged through poor suburbs of Johannesburg in a frenzy of anti-foreigner hatred over the weekend, killing at least seven people, injuring dozens and forcing hundreds to seek refuge at police stations.
Violence erupted in a rundown inner city area called Cleveland that is home to many immigrants. Two of the victims were burned and three others beaten to death. Over 50 were hospitalised with gunshot and stab wounds.
“It’s spreading like a wildfire and the police and the army can’t control it,” said Zimbabwean Emmerson Zifo.
The trouble began last week in the sprawling township of Alexandra. Angry residents there accused foreigners, many of them Zimbabweans who fled their country’s economic collapse, of taking scarce jobs and housing. Johannesburg is home to hundreds of thousands of immigrants. Many of them are illegal, but many have als been here for more than a decade and possess identity documents.
There has been sporadic anti-foreigner violence for months, mainly aimed at Somali run stores accused of undercutting locals. But the violence of recent days was on a larger scale.
Another person was shot dead and two more wounded in attacks on Saturday in Tembisa, in another part of greater Johannesburg. A Police spokesman said scores of Tembisa residents destroyed property belonging to foreign nationals.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved