Operation Dudula reaches Ekurhuleni as locals target illegal immigrants

Operation Dudula members at Bara taxi rank in Diepkloof, Soweto, last month. The operation has since moved to the Ekurhuleni area.
Operation Dudula members at Bara taxi rank in Diepkloof, Soweto, last month. The operation has since moved to the Ekurhuleni area.
Image: Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images

Scores of community members from Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, gathered in Daveyton on Saturday ahead of Operation Dudula demonstrations. Some carried SA flags. 

The operation, which started in Soweto last year and spread to inner Johannesburg and Hillbrow, is aimed at rooting out illegal foreign nationals.

“Today we are going to be launching our Ekurheleni Operation Dudula. After that we are going to have a small demonstration around Daveyton where we will be introducing ourselves to other sectors,” said the head of the Ekurhuleni operation, Dennis Molefe.

“We are going to go to the Daveyton CBD where we have already approached the people who are illegal foreigners and are hawkers there, and some people who are owning shops and selling illegal substances.

“We are going to go to those shops and demand that they close down, especially scrap yards and so forth.”

Molefe was speaking to eNCA before the march, and said they had decided to take action themselves after what he said were unfruitful calls for intervention from the SA Revenue Service (Sars) and the Ekurhuleni metro police, in regard to illegal foreign nationals operating businesses in Daveyton and Benoni.

The metro police were responsible for enforcing street-vending bylaws, while Sars was supposed to ensure businesses were tax compliant, he said.

Molefe said the only assistance had come from home affairs, which had sent five people to assist with immigration checks in the Daveyton area.

“We see that the illegal people are not just coming here to take our jobs but our businesses too. There are also crimes committed by illegal people and they are not easily traced,” said Molefe. 

The SA Police Service has been embarking on several operations aimed at rooting out illegal foreigners in Gauteng.

On Friday, police were in Alexandra, Johannesburg and Soweto, and dozens of undocumented immigrants were arrested.

Videos doing the rounds on social media showed suspected illegal immigrants from various countries being bundled into police vans. 

The operations come shortly after tensions flared in Alexandra where community members, operating under the Dudula Movement — which is separate from Operation Dudula — called for the removal of illegal immigrants operating businesses in the area.


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