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'foreigners' under siege

By unknown | May 13, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

Last night, I did not have the guts to wait - and watch - what I suspected could turn out to be another deadly xenophobic attack.

I was scared as this guy stepped into the garage in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, and asked a customer in front of me: "What language do you speak?"

The answered: "Shangaan".

"Shangaan from Maputo or Tzaneen?" the customer was asked.

He answered: "I am from Maputo broer."

"I will definitely wait for you outside then," the guy said as he waited for me to speak.

I politely asked the shop assistant for airtime and, with colleague Pat Seboko, bolted for the door.

We were too scared to see what the man and his friends, travelling in a minibus, would do to the Mozambican after a weekend of ruthless attacks on foreigners in the township.

Police say at least two people were shot dead and at least 40 injured in suspected xenophobic attacks at the weekend.

Some South Africans were not spared in what police describe as the work of thugs.

It was later discovered that one of the men who was killed was actually South African.

Twelve people were arrested for the incidents and face charges of murder, attempted murder, public violence and theft.

It is alleged that South African citizens in the township don't want 'illegal immigrants'.

They claim that the foreigners cause violence in the area.

The mobs have been breaking into shacks believed to be occupied by foreigners, attacking and robbing them. Some mobs were openly saying last night that foreigners will not sleep in Alex.

Police spokesman Neria Malefetse said security in the area was tightened.

Foreigners were also encouraged to seek shelter at the police station.

Malefetse said: "It also seems that criminal elements are taking advantage of the situation.

"We have arrested five people for being in possession of stolen goods. These people are now vandalising people's homes."

Malefetse added that "it was reported that one person was shot but when we arrived at the address the victim was not there".

Michael Segodwana, a South African, said: "I was shot on my way to my shack but luckily the bullet did not penetrate my leg while relaxing inside my own shack.

"And I was born and bred in South Africa.

"Now I am too afraid to go home. These people do not care whether you are South African or not. They are out of control."


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