POLOKWANE turns ON zimbabweans
SIX Zimbabwean nationals were brutally beaten up during a xenophobic attack in Polokwane on Monday night.
The six, who sustained serious facial and bodily injuries, were taken to the Polokwane hospital for treatment.
More than a 100 others have - since the attack - camped in the old Peter Mokaba Stadium under heavy police guard.
Polokwane police spokesperson Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe said they had received a tip-off that Zimbabweans were being attacked in Westernburg.
He said the attack was sparked by the death of resident Steven Hamilton, 23, who was allegedly found dead in the street on Sunday morning.
Ngoepe said soon after the discovery of Hamilton's body, residents gathered in an open field and decided to attack all Zimbabweans living in shacks in the area.
Ngoepe said residents suspected that the Zimbabweans were responsible for a spate of criminal activities such as rapes, house breaking and murder, including Hamilton's death.
"When we arrived at Westernburg, we found a lot of foreign nationals injured, bleeding and in pain.
"Most had serious hack and stab wounds. Many others had been stoned. It was clear that they had been beaten, stoned and left for dead by angry locals.
"Some of the victims who were found hiding in the bushes and in different parts of Westernburg were in a serious condition," Ngoepe said.
Ngoepe said police had arrested a number of people in connection with the deadly attacks.
He said they would face charges of public violence, assault and attempted murder in the Polokwane magistrate's court at a date still to be arranged.
Ngoepe warned that police would arrest anyone who fuelled violence against foreign nationals.
He was, however, unable to confirm local residents' allegations that most crimes were committed by foreigners.
Victim Catharine Jundu, 35, who is temporarily camping at the stadium, said a group of people came and attacked her and her brother at her shack on Monday night.
She said the angry mob kicked the door of her shack open and started beating her, her brother and children.
"When we asked them why we were being beaten, they called us names and said we are thieves, witches and murderers and that we must go back to Zimbabwe," said Jundu
Another victim, Juliet Baiton, was found by police in the street after the attack.
Baiton, together with six others, were taken to the Polokwane hospital after the attack. They were subsequently discharged into the custody of police.
"All I need now are my clothes and my treasured pots and I will go back home and enjoy Christmas with my family.
"I will only come back to South Africa when the situation is calm," she said.
Limpopo MEC for safety, security and liaison Dikeledi Magadzi said her office had deployed police to the area to stop any possible outbreak of violence.
Magadzi said police would guard the area until the situation returned to normal.