Man set alight as violent attacks rise

Penwell Dlamini and Vusi Ndlovu

Penwell Dlamini and Vusi Ndlovu

Another man was set alight in the Ramaphosa informal settlement in Reiger Park on the East Rand yesterday as locals resorted to matches to resolve their disputes with foreigners.

The flames had been put out by the time emergency services rescued him as he lay in agony next to the road.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse angry residents who threw stones and bottles at them.

Foreigners' shacks were burnt and containers used as spaza shops upended and burnt to cover the roads in a thick pall of smoke.

Shops were closed and no residents left the township amid the tensions between the locals and foreigners.

Four people were reportedly killed on the East Rand and several wounded at the weekend.

"The foreigners started the violence by revving their cars and beating up anyone who was on the streets - and residents retaliated," said Chris Makheseti, a resident.

Police calmed the situation and called the angry residents to a meeting on the dusty road.

They told Superintendent Mdu Khuzwayo that they did not want foreigners in Ramaphosa.

Khuzwayo said that it was difficult to find a solution because there were no leaders to represent residents.

Gauteng police spokesman Director Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said 22 people had been killed and 217 arrested since the xenophobic attacks began in Alexandra last week.

"We have deployed more police to the hot spots to calm the situation," Mariemuthoo said.

Meanwhile, in Primrose, Germiston, about 2000 people crowded the local police station after suffering violent attacks from residents in the area.

"Yesterday we registered 650 people and 600 today. The figure is rising," said Peter Mudau, Red Cross coordinator at Primrose police station.