Fears of xenophobic violence in Pretoria
Kimberly Mutandiro | 2017-01-30 19:17:20.0
An anti-xenophobia protest.
Image by: Mike Holmes
A pamphlet circulating in Mamelodi calling for a march against foreign nationals has triggered fears of a new outbreak of xenophobic violence.
The circular, signed by “Mamelodi concerned residence” and calling for a march in Feburary, is also being distributed on social media.
“We have to start packing our bags. We can’t risk it. This time around they may not leave any of us alive,” said Mebo, a Zimbabwean immigrant living in Mamelodi. “Why do they hate us so much? Is South Africa the first country to have immigrants? We are all Africans. We need each other as Africans.”
Oupa Mtshweni, whose name appears on the circular, said the demonstration would be “peaceful”.
“We are not planning to be violent,” he told GroundUp. “I don’t see why this should be a problem to anyone. This has nothing to do with xenophobia.”
But immigrants living in Pretoria are not convinced and are circulating warnings to each other on social media.
Family members outside South Africa are also warning their relatives to be careful.
“I received a warning message from my mother who resides in the UK. She is worried and even encouraged me to go and suffer back home rather than die here in South Africa, said Monalisa, a Nigerian hair salon owner.
Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson in Gauteng, said the matter had not been reported to SAPS. She said police would investigate.
-This article was first published at GroundUP.