Ten people have reportedly been injured as the anti-immigration Dudula Movement clashed with business owners in Alexandra’s Pan Africa Mall on Monday.
A group of mainly female vendors stood firm as Dudula’s leader, a man who refers to himself as Msayza – real name Simon Rati – threatened violence if the township’s foreign business owners do not leave the country soon.
A video clip captured by Scrolla.Africa reporters shows the women shouting defiantly that they will not leave the place they call home, and that they won’t be intimidated by thugs.
During the clashes one man was attacked after he tried to stop the Dudula protestors from setting fire stalls, and was badly beaten with sticks and stones.
The clashes started after a verbal altercation between a Mozambican national and a South African turned violent, forcing the shops in Pan Africa Mall to close early.
Business owner Vernon Moodley said he feared for the safety of his 79-year-old mother who became trapped inside their shop after Dudula members forcibly slammed its doors shut.
“When the Dudula Movement members came, they forced us to close the shop,” Moodley told Scrolla.Africa.
“Before I could get my old mother out the shop, they came and slammed the doors and closed my mother inside. Lucky enough, I had other keys and took her out,” he said.
The visibly traumatised mother, who didn’t want to have her name published for fear of her safety, couldn’t speak afterwards.
Vernon said he has been in business for 20 years. “Last July, looters burnt down my shop after looting it. I had to borrow money from the bank to start again. And now we are being forced to close. What should I do now?”
Freedom Supermarket, one of Alexandra’s most well-known grocery shops, was also looted and burned down last July. It once again came under threat on Monday.
Dudula members clashed with its management, who vowed that they wouldn’t close it.
Diners at restaurants around the mall were forced to abandon their meals in the chaos.
Speaking to Scrolla.Africa, Operation Dudula leader Nhlanhla Lux Dlamini distanced his organisation from the Alexandra Dudula Movement.
Image source: Everson Luhanga