Anti-foreigner sentiment drowns Buthelezi speech

Protesting hostel dwellers took to the streets stating that they wants foreign nationals to leave.
Protesting hostel dwellers took to the streets stating that they wants foreign nationals to leave.
Image: Penwell Dlamini

IFP president emeritus Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Sunday battled to quell tensions in Johannesburg as he spoke out against xenophobic violence. 

Sections of the crowd at the gathering in Jeppestown walked out as he addressed them.

"We are committing suicide."

Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi said when he addressed the crowd demanding the expulsion of foreign nationals in a gathering held at Belgravia, eastern Johannesburg.


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Buthelezi begged the crowd, to calm down as the xenophobic attacks had already set South Africa into a path to isolation. "I'm not here to judge but to mediate," Buthelezi, the former leader of the IFP who stepped down just last month, said.

During his entire speech, a portion of the crowd kept shouting at him as he pleaded with them to end the violence. The group later walked out while Buthelezi was speaking.

Hammering sticks on the fence, the crowd walked around the park where Buthelezi was speaking and even fired gunshots in the air. After walking around the park, the group returned back to the venue and began shouting that police minister Bheki Cele address them.

Cele was not at the venue despite being the one who announced the gathering earlier in the week. Hostel headmen (izinduna) tried several times to call the angry crowd to order but their efforts yielded no desired results.

The crowd kept singing "Mugabe is dead, foreigners must go back home".

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