Xenophobic vigilantes torch town

HOT TOPIC: Protests against the alleged criminality of foreign nationals in Mogale City and Rustenburg took a destructive turn with the property of foreigners being torched. PICTURE: THAPELO MOREBUDI

AUTHORITIES have condemned the rising attacks on foreign nationals allegedly involved in crime in Mogale City and Rustenburg. This after residents of Mogale City on Gauteng’s West Rand yesterday embarked on what they dubbed a “Krugersdorp Shutdown” against an influx of foreign nationals allegedly involved in drug dealing.

Simultaneously there was trouble in Rustenburg where foreign nationals squared up to the local community waging a campaign against foreign nationals allegedly involved in criminal activity. Protesters in Mogale City who had already burnt several houses at the weekend, torched more buildings in the Krugersdorp CBD including a car wash believed to be a front for prostitution.

The police used rubber bullets, teargas and water can on to disperse crowds. One protester said: “We are tired of prostitution and drugs in our areas. These people are turning our kids into druggies. They must go back home.” Sibusiso, a Zimbabwean national, was emotional as his home burned. “I am worried about my documents. They are burning down and the police are not helping me in any way,” he said.

Residents accused the police of helping Nigerians turn the city into a drug and prostitution den by failing to deal with crime, accusing SAPS members of being on the payroll of perpetrators. “Nigerians have been caught red handed with drugs but they are never brought to account,” community leader Itumeleng Pule said. By late afternoon things had settled down with Pule saying they had found a way forward and the community members would meet with the police and municipality today.