WATCH: Foreign nationals clash with Dudula Movement members in Alexandra
'We are not going anywhere. We are here to work,' say street vendors.
Alex residents during the Dudula operation targeting migrants on Monday. Photo: screengrab from Twitter.
Businesses were disrupted in Alexandra’s Pan Africa Mall on Monday as community members who identified themselves as the Dudula Movement converged in search of migrant employees and shop owners who did not have valid paperwork.
There have since been reports of clashes between foreign nationals and residents. Videos of shops being forced to close have also surfaced on social media.
Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, members of the movement claimed they had been attacked by foreign nationals.
“We are being failed by law enforcement. We feel that they are oppressing us. If it was South African citizens who were throwing stones and attacking foreigners, masses would have been arrested by now. But they did not do anything when stones were being thrown by foreign nationals.”
There will be a shutdown from Tuesday in Alexandra that will see all shops being closed. According to one of the leaders, this will be done with law enforcement to ensure no violence ensues.
They have called on the department of home affairs to join them to address the issue of undocumented foreign nationals.
“We have kept quiet for a long time as the community of Alexandra. There is no one who is going to work or school tomorrow. There will not be any looting or fighting, we just want all the undocumented foreign nationals to go away. They must pack their bags and go.”
According to police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili, police officers posted at the Pan Africa Mall responded to the clashes, and when the number of people increased, the local police called the Public Order Police (POP) for reinforcement.
The POP managed to bring the situation under control.
Four people were injured during the clashes – three Mozambican men aged between 36 and 52 and a 38-year-old South African. The injured people were taken to a clinic for medical treatment.
One suspect, a South African man, was arrested for possession of an imitation firearm.
A case of public violence has been registered for investigation.
Although the Dudula Movement is reported to be a separate organisation from Operation Dudula, which has held protest marches against foreign workers in the recent past, there are similarities between the two.
Earlier this year, members of the “Operation Dudula” targeted hawkers from their stalls at taxi ranks around Soweto, Hillbrow, and other areas around Joburg.
Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde