“We are not against foreigners”, claims leader of anti-foreigner mall invasion

Everson Luhanga

The last time Nhlanhla “Lux” Dlamini was seen at a shopping mall, it was his defence of Mopanya Mall – where the Soweto resident famously prevented looters from sacking it during the July 2021 riots.

But on Saturday Lux, as he’s known, was involved in another incident at a mall – this time leading the charge and not defending against it – demanding restaurants in Sandton City only hire locals.

In two buses and one quantum taxi, Lux led a group of young people from Soweto and Alexandra to the mall to protest at what they said was the recruitment of foreign nationals by restaurant owners.

The CV-carrying youths arrived unannounced at the mall’s food court, and chanted struggle songs for four hours as mall security personnel stood stunned and watched in disbelief. 

“We are not against foreigners. It is naive of people to think we are driving foreigners out of South Africa,” Lux said. 

“All we are saying is that we want everyone who is in the country to be legal and be registered by our government.

“We have many foreign nationals in the country who are rendering crucial skills in different sectors like medical doctors, engineers.”

He said the group is taking the protest to government organs like the departments of home affairs and labour. 

“We are not taking on black illegal foreigners. Whether white, black or any other race – if you are in the country illegally, you are our target.”

Lux said he is not a part of Operation Dudula, the group who have made headlines recently for burning down foreign-owned stalls at the Baragwanath taxi rank. The activist did little, however, to distance himself from them.

“I am not part of Operation Dubula – but I am happy to be associated with them because we have the same mandate.”

Adolf Marema, a leader and advocate for the youth in Alexandra, said he and his associates are not xenophobic. 

“This is the beginning and we will take this initiative to many other sectors of the economy. The government department is our next stop,” said Marema.

He said restaurant owners have the mandate to check the immigration status of people they are recruiting. 

“They must not hide behind government incompetency and take people who do not have papers.”