Reitumetse Makwea
2 minute read
14 Feb 2022
5:55 am

IN PICS: Govt prefers foreigners to locals, say anti-migrant protesters

Reitumetse Makwea

One protester said they were surprised by how the police were protecting undocumented foreigners.

Disgruntled South Africans march in Orange Grove, Johannesburg, 13 February 2022, calling on the removal of illegal immigrants from within the economic sector. Picture: Michel Bega

Operation Dudula struck again yesterday, as protesters took to the streets in Alexandra and Orange Grove, following an earlier demonstration in Hillbrow over undocumented foreign nationals who reside or own businesses in South Africa.

Alexandra resident Mphoentle Mbele said if the government did not address the matter of undocumented foreigners and the unemployment crisis, it would eventually have another wave of xenophobic attacks on its hands.

Mbele claimed most criminal activity was committed by undocumented foreigners, especially in Hillbrow, Alex and Soweto, with the biggest evidence being hijacked buildings, drug lords and foreign informal traders.

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“The police in many areas have allowed foreigners to terrorise communities … if you make a report in some areas they fail to go and check those places ,” she said.

Placards reading, “Go home, go home you foreign nationals” and “Alex 4 Alex” were carried as people marched through Alexandra, while police officers guarded the Pan Africa Shopping Centre.

Another protester, Khwezi Mfekazi, said they were surprised by how the police were protecting undocumented foreigners, even though they were marching peacefully.

“Yesterday they were even shooting rubber bullets at us,” he said.

“Our government prefers foreign nationals more than us locals all the time. Is it because of investors? We are tired of being treated like second-class citizens to people who do not even have their documentation.”

The group in Orange Grove was met with rubber bullets, stun grenades, teargas and water cannons as they clashed with police, who said the march was not authorised.

Meanwhile the Africa Diaspora Forum condemned the marches, saying the groups were attempting to instigate xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals.

It welcomed the presence of the SA Police Service while they made sure that people and properties we protected at all costs.