Uneasy calm returns to Reiger Park

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

The Ramaphosa informal settlement in Reiger Park, Boksburg, appeared quiet but tense yesterday with sporadic fighting between locals and foreigners.

By 9am residents stood outside their houses, wondering what the day had in store for them as Metro police and SAPS members patrolled the area and maintained a high visibility.

On Tuesday police fired rubber bullets at hundreds of men after one of them had thrown a bottle at suspended police chief Robert McBride.

Things took an ugly turn when a man was beaten up by a group of men and had to be taken to hospital.

Three hours later two men who were identified as foreigners were saved by the police when they were beaten up by a mob. One of them had his brains spilling out of his skull.

"They used a garden spade to beat him up and the other was saved by police as the angry mob tried to set him alight using a plastic," said a resident.

The mob had launched attacks against foreigners who tried to salvage what was left of their charred belongings.

"I think it is our persistent pursuing of suspects, strong police visibility and arrests that has helped to restore calm in the affected areas," said police Director Govindsamy Mariemuthoo.

Police had to now and then stop residents who tried to loot some of the goods left by the displaced foreigners.

"I have been in Ramaphosa since 1994 and we did not have a problem with foreigners. I do not know what has sparked such violence," said another resident.

She said her husband, a Shangaan from Giyani, had left her with their five children when xenophobic attacks started.