A large part of Gauteng was rocked by anti-foreigner protests orchestrated by Operation Dudula branches this weekend.
The largest protests were in the Johannesburg CBD, Hillbrow, Orange Grove, and Alexandra, where the organisation’s leader, Nhlanhla Lux Ndlamini, led a group of over 500.
Although police said there were no reported incidents of violence, officers on the ground had to fire rubber bullets when clashes erupted in Hillbrow and Orange Grove.
The police, Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse and the city’s MMC for community safety David Tembe have all called Operation Dudula’s actions criminal.
However, it was clear from the weekend’s activities that the group is not going to go quietly.
A group of women wearing only bras attracted a lot of attention when they marched to deliver a memorandum to shop owners in Orange Grove.
One of the shirtless women said they were “gatvol” of shop owners employing foreign nationals and that she was willing to lead a maponapona march to the Union Building to express her frustrations to the government.
She accused foreigners of taking jobs and selling drugs to young children in the community.
With the wounds of the July looting still fresh in the minds of many business owners, seeing such a large crowd targeting stores brought back memories of loss and harm.
On Sunday the Dudula Alexandra branch was also out in force.
Spokeswoman Agnes Malatje told Scrolla.Africa that they were targeting everyone who was not a South African.
“Whether you show us papers or not, if you are not a South African, you need to surrender your business to a local person.”
She said they were targeting every foreigner because even those with papers had obtained them fraudulently from the relevant government departments
Agnes claimed that government departments had created a mess and failed the community dismally.
“What we are doing now will get the attention of the sleeping government,” she said.
Around 2pm on Sunday, the scene at the Alexandra Pan Africa Mall resembled last July’s rioting and looting.
Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse condemned Operation Dudula and its actions.
“It should be understood that Operation Dudula is an illegal operation and is not sanctioned by the city,” she said.
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