Was the calm in Alexandra Tuesday the calm before the storm after locals told strangers to leave or be killed?
Police gathered at the containers in front of the Pan Africa Mall, where a group of Alexandra residents known as the Dudula movement had clashed with foreigners the previous day. A group of angry residents gathered at the containers and said that tension in Alex was high.
“I can’t work, I’m not getting hired anywhere and I have children to feed,” said one.
“I need a space to come and sell. Now they don’t want us to sell here, they say they’ve been here a long time.
“Where do they come from? I think they should go back to their own country.”
According to the resident, there were many Mozambicans in the area. As they began unpacking their merchandise Monday morning, the foreigners threw rocks at them.
“Foreigners have to leave, we want our place back, people are dying here. I’m not playing,” said another angry resident.
Ashi ul-Haq has a cell phone shop nearby and said it had to close when the collision broke out.
“I can’t go, I’ve been working here for 26 years. I can’t go anywhere else, this is my home,” he said.
Dudula Movement member Wendy Sithole said: “There is too much risk living here. On Monday, the foreigners started beating us, some ended up in hospital and injured.”
She said she was unhappy about the attack on members of the movement and “three weeks ago a child was raped by a Zimbabwean. I am not happy about that or foreigners”.
She said only foreigners worked at the Debonairs Pizza and that there were reportedly 200 foreigners working at the betting shop with a sign on the door: “No job – cutting back”.
Sithole sells cigarettes on the street corner to feed her five children. “If I go to Shoprite and ask for a job, they will tell me there is no job,” she said.
“Look at all these mommies here, they’re all looking for a job and they’re telling us we’re too old for a job.” Sithole said the government should give back their land.
“We are the voters,” she says. Sibongile Koloane said she has been selling buckets in Alexandra since 1988.
“I am not a foreigner, I am a South African, but the Dudulas came to close the containers. I don’t know why,” she said.
“They don’t rent the containers yet because it’s not finished yet, because there is no electricity and no water.”
There had been tensions between factions for three weeks. She said the violence started with the Dudula movement.
“Dudulas didn’t just beat the foreigners, they beat us all,” she said.
A local entrepreneur who agreed to speak anonymously said he was approached about two weeks ago by the Dudula movement, who wanted his documents to see if he was a foreigner.
“They came more regularly to check and recently removed strangers who were selling goods outside the containers,” he said.
“The foreign nations are angry because they have been without food or sales for three weeks and now want to go home,” he added.
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