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Police fight anti-foreigner violence in S. Africa

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posted on May, 19 2008 @ 07:46 AM

Police fight anti-foreigner violence in S. Africa

REIGER PARK, South Africa (AP) — Police were firing tear gas and making arrests to put down outbursts of anti-foreigner violence in and around Johannesburg.

Foreigners were being driven from shacks in squatter camps Monday. Many of the foreigners were Zimbabweans who had fled their own country's economic collapse.

Men bearing clubs and sticks were patrolling in groups along the road near one camp, apparently guarding against any foreigners trying to return to the camp.
(visit the link for the full news article)

Related News Links:

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 07:46 AM
South Africa, the country that, in political terms, recently abolished apartheid, is now suffering another type of apartheid - xenophobia. Surely the S.Africans must know what they are doing is morally wrong.

I hope it isn't a sign of a new Zimbabwe in development with land grabs followed by ill-managed farm land followed by starvation.

Are there any S.Africans who can let us know how widespread are the unrest and the feelings that lead to it?
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 07:51 AM
A snippet from another news source:

Toll doubles in South Africa unrest

At least 22 people have been killed as a wave of anti-foreign violence spreads across South Africa's townships, according to police officials.

Hundreds of immigrants sought refuge on Monday, as mobs set their homes on fire and the toll from xenophobic violence doubled.

Residents were forced to flee as their homes were set alight in Reiger Park on Johannesburg's East Rand, where one man was set on fire on Sunday.

Police patrolled the township as large gangs stood around pelting them with stones and barricading roads.

Immigrants clutching belongings sat alongside the road or sought refuge at a local police station and local radio reported crowds of people at community centres and police stations who were seeking protection.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 11:27 AM
HI there

I've been shadowing ATS for a while now, and just came accross this post, and decided to sign up and make my first posting

I live in South Africa (Johannesburg) and seeing Rapacity's request for a report from there, i thought i'd be the one.

The unrest is fairly widespread - there are now about 9 or 10 townships where violent attacks have occured. However, they are all situated in the vicinity of JHB so far.

As to the cause, i can't say. However, I believe that it's because foreigners (illegal immigrants) cross the borders to escape from worse conditions, such as in Zimbabwe. They leave their families behind, and are so desperate they are willing to work for lower salaries than the locals are demanding. they then get jobs, while the locals remain unemployed.

Hope that helps enlighten things abit.

Any questions i'll try answer as i can.


[edit on 19-5-2008 by Havoc40k]

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 11:41 AM
reply to post by Havoc40k

Welcome havoc40k. Thanks for taking the time to join and answer some questions.

Is the violence happening all over the country or is it localised to the Johannesburg area? The reports I have read so far say that it is mostly there.

Is the attacks only focused on illegal immigrants or is it more widespread?

Oh and good job on posting this Rapacity. These stories don't get enough attention on ATS, imo.

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 12:08 PM
reply to post by Havoc40k

Thank you for reporting Havoc40k, glad to see I've encouraged someone to sign-up to ATS.

From the media and your report, it appears that a lot of the unrest is down to high unemployment and the poor financial status of most people. In the U.K we have a high immigrant population but nothing like the level of unemployment S.A. I hope violence doesn't erupt here.

..only 42 of every 100 South Africans have a job, 49% are poor (with monthly household income below R2,400 or £170), 13% are HIV positive, 24% of homes have no electricity, 32 % no tap water, 69% no hot water supply, and R21 (£1.40) of every R100 (£6.80) they earn, they spend on food...South Africa's hard truths

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I have a few questions:

Is the violence being provoked by local leaders or the government?

Is the high unemployment level pervasive of all of S.A or is it confined to a particular population type?

Is the situation being brought under control?

Is the violence being dealt with over harshly?

And thank-you GAOTU789 for your encouragement.

[edit on 19/5/08 by Rapacity]

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 12:34 PM
Thanks for the welcome.

At GAOTU789:

As for it's spread, it's very localised at present. It's all happening in townships within a +/- 100km radius from Johannesburg city center. there have not yet been any reports of other cities/towns with such violence in their townships.

The attacks are mostly focussed on illegal immigrants, but there have been local people who got caught up in the fighting, and had their belongings stolen / been attacked / had their shacks (informal housing built by the lowest-earning people) burnt etc. as is being done to the outsiders.

At Rapacity:

At the moment nobody knows just what made the situation flare up like this. There has always been unrest from the locals because these outsiders come across the borders illegally and find employment far easier than the local populace, but it's strange that things have flared up so violently in the past 2 weeks.

The unemployment level is primarily concentrated in the Indigenous races - Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, and so forth. There is a lower unemployment level in european-decended locals, such as myself.
By the way the current unemployment figures stand between 26% (official figure) and 40% (estimated actual figure).

There are attempts by the police forces to bring the situation under control, but things flare up the moment the police move on to another area of fighting. There are calls for the military to be brought in to help, but the President claims that he must first get a request from the minister of safety and security. The government doesn't seem to see it as serious enough to call the armed forces in yet either...

As to harsh dealings of the violence, the police have been firing "rubber-bullets" until now, but have warned that should the violence continue, live ammunition will be used.


posted on May, 19 2008 @ 12:47 PM
Many of us watch in fear of family and friends in South Africa as news of Xenophobia in South Africa hits the international press.

As evidenced by the brain drain that has hit South Africa over the last few years, and the number of South Africans living in Europe it's a sad fact that many South Africans themselves felt threatened by a sort of "Xenophobia" when they lived in their own country and decided to leave.

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 01:00 PM
Will they use live ammunition or are they bluffing?

As you said, I thought the unemployment levels might be lower for those of European descent.

I don't know whether I'm thinking this because of the way you explained it earlier but would you describe the violence as tribal and if so is it inter- or intra-tribal? I hope it isn't, because it could set back the world view of S.Africa by some years.

At the moment, at least to those I've spoken with, people in Europe view S.A separately of the rest - we tend not to imagine mud huts (probably because the msm show small tribal village set-ups of other African nations but brick-built cities for S.A).

How long do you expect the violence to last?

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 01:16 PM
I'm honestly not sure wether the police are bluffing or not. Though i personally doubt that such measures would ever be implemented.

This violence is'n't inter-tribal per se', but more against anybody who comes from one of the bordering countries, Zim, Botswana, Mozambique...

The SA political system at the moment shows traces of inter-tribal conflict, especially in the ruling party, the ANC. The current state president, Thabo Mbeki, is of Xhosa descent. However, the ANC PARTY PRESIDENT, Jocob Zuma, is Zulu. There are alot of theories flying around down here that this was the reason Zuma was denounced as deputy state-president, and the subsequent charges brought against him relating to corruption and fraud...

As to the mud huts, the majority of the indigenous population still live in "shanty towns", and dwellings crudely constructed from galvanized metlal sheeting. there were some state-sponsored programs to provide these people with brick-and-mortar housing, but the beaurocratic mess that's caused means that only very few people actually HAVE recieved such housing.


[edit on 19-5-2008 by Havoc40k]

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 01:54 PM
It's a shame that the actions of a few, reflect the thoughts of many. I have friends that were born and grew up in South Africa, and it is a beautiful country that deserves better from it's people. There are always hard times in every country, and blaming illegals for stealing there jobs is B.S (sounds familiar-America=Mexicians, Canada=East Indians, and the list goes on and on). They need to rally to there governments for changes in the law, aswell as upholding it. But then again the government will stand up for themselves and that sucks! So I'll let my anger out on the helpless one who is just trying to survive. Our thoughts on a whole are messed up, we need to unite and help each other. Then again that idea died long time ago or did it even exsist?

I hope things get better!!

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 02:37 PM
reply to post by Havoc40k

The whole situation in S.A sounds quite bad. To me, it seems that there was a lot of hope when apartheid was abolished which has been abolished itself and that people are turning their ill feelings caused by disillusionment toward the "immigrants." If that hope isn't returned soon, I can envisage the situation getting much, much worse.

I remember how the world cheered in the post apartheid S.A's new era; how the media praised the release of Nelson Mandela; how the media and political leaders welcomed the new "united" South Africa. I bet (in fact, I remember it reported) the black South Africans looked forward to having access to the standard of life had by the white South Africans. It seems that dream never materialized for the majority. I wonder, from a black South African's viewpoint, is the situation worse than it was? Have the people in charge served themselves overly more acceptably than they have those people they indicated they'd help once enabled to do so?

Back in 1775, England, people began to form groups which pooled money/savings, skills and man-hours to build houses for the group's members. These groups became known as Building Societies. Can people in shanty towns do similar?

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 01:21 AM
reply to post by Rapacity

I can't claim to remember much about the end of apartheid, aqs i was still i very young lad at the time. But on the whole, i'm sure you're right. Alot of people here think that on the whole, it's been a case of the same troubles coming from a different source. There are even troubles now that weren't a problem 20 years ago, according to my parents and others who i speak to who recall those days.

As to the building societies, that would help, if the populace was earning more. my Father is in the building industry, so i could give some rough "educated-guess" figures. A small low-coust house of about 50 square meters would use about 16-18,000 bricks, at a cost of about 1,100 Rand per 1,000 bricks. add to this the sheet-metal roof-ng, and roof trusses, and the end cost would be about 35,000 Rand (about 2,187 British Pounds, at current exchange rate).

Problem is, the vast majority of the basic-income earners only earn about 1,000 Rand per month, about 62 Pounds, of which a large amount is paid for transport to and from work. THe remainder is used to feed and clothe large families, where they might be the only bread-winner for six or seven people.

Yes, there were a great many promises made in the beginning of the "New, Democratic South Africa", but few of these have ever been taken past the "Promises" stage.

Here's a link to a local news agency running a news page for SA. Just to give you an idea of what we have here:


EDIT: Fixed the link to the right page hee hee

[edit on 20-5-2008 by Havoc40k]

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 01:47 AM
Glad to see some interest in SA events!

I for one have this "smug satisfaction". Not about the violence against people. But because this backs what I've been saying for years - especially the past couple of months. Right-wingers; those who believe in Uhuru and other paranoids believe that South African "black people" are out to get the "white people". I've been trying to convince them that there is very little "black against white" crime in South Africa. The majority crimes are "criminals against the rest" crime. And this current situation backs me. Black against black.

This is clearly not a "Zimbabwe" scenario. This is a "we had enough" scenario. Sadly there are no official statistics for this, but in general illegal immigrants are least likely to find work. Thus they turn to a life of crime to survive. It's most likely if you were a victim of violent crime in the past 5 years (in SA) then the criminal was an illegal immigrant.

SA has been in the news for one reason only the past couple of years. Its high crime rate. All South Africans have had enough of the violence and crime, so the rural communities are doing something about it, because the government sure isn't. Kangaroo court. They're hitting the (crime) problem at the roots. Illegal immigrants.

Which is not fair. Because not every outsider is a criminal. But the crowd mentality loses sight of what's right and what's wrong. This will go on like this until the government acknowledges "Yes, we hear what you're saying, we'll do something about the crime..."

(Disclaimer: These are not necessarily my outlooks or opinions, just a sketchy explanation of how I understand the situation.)

[edit on 20-5-2008 by Gemwolf]

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 05:03 AM
The situation is very saddening. To those who haven't seen that news link, here are some of the headlines from

'They let him bleed to death'
20/05/2008 10:06
A man has bled to death after armed robbers shot him in the heart during a braai at his Pretoria house while his family were robbed and assaulted.

Man dies for hiring foreigners
20/05/2008 08:49
An Actonville businessman has been killed after being accused of hiring foreign workers - his house was set alight by a mob who accused him of not hiring locals.

'I expect them to kill my son'
20/05/2008 08:37
"They cut up my brother's legs and stabbed him to death. Then they set his hut alight and his little boy burnt to death," says a 45-year-old Mozambican.

Bodies in the bloody aftermath
20/05/2008 08:18
The man's head had been smashed in with a rock. Blood pooled underneath him. No one seemed to know where he was from. Most didn't seem to care.

Thank-you for that link, Havoc40k.

Reading some of those news items makes me feel isolated by the media blanket that surrounds me - and I am one who seeks out foreign news sources. We in the U.K really don't know what's really happening in the wider world.

It's shameful that building supplies are so expensive that people can't realistically band together to build one home at a time. I suppose that without government intervention the only viable option would be for people to produce their own bricks and timber (I mean go right back to the basics).

I read that an estimated 3 million Zimbabweans are in S.A, If they rose-up together the violence would be uncontrollable and everybody would lose. I hope you and your family stay safe there, Havoc40k.

Gemwolf, I hear you when you say that this is a "we've had enough" situation. It seems that it's very rare in society for people to develop non-violent alternative solutions to social hardship. Maybe this is because modern government is too restrictive and always wants to control any alternative developed i.e it would be better for the people to peacefully group together, round up the illegal immigrants then push them out of the country rather than just rampaging to injure and kill them. But can you imagine what a government would do? Apparently, one would rather have violence than forced repatriations. I'm not saying I agree with either but I know which is the lesser evil hence which I'd condone.

[edit on 20/5/08 by Rapacity]

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 05:19 AM
BBC 'Have your say' on NPR had a most compelling roundtable on subject last afternoon. Africanis hate outsider africanis. Period. Those that would come in and take subservient positions for low wages. Take out the machetes and axe them like the whitey farmers that were truly successful in harvesting your fields. You reap what you sow. Africans have not been successful at pulling their collective ranks together. Tribalism at its best, not reserved to Africa either, the Mother of humanity.

[edit on 5/20/2008 by jpm1602]

[edit on 5/20/2008 by jpm1602]

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:01 AM
reply to post by Rapacity

I thank you for your concern Rapacity.

The Outsiders in SA aren't the only concerns, IMO. As i mentioned in one of my earlier posts, there is tribal contention within our own borders, without even mentioning people from outside countries. I mentioned the corruption case of the ruling party's president, and his supporters claim that it is based on falsified evidence created by the STATE president. both men are from different ethnic groups, and both have very large followings.

Looking at the rest of the continent, i fear for the future of this country. Much of africa is involved in tribal conflicts between different etnic groups (like the Hutu's and the Tutsi's in Rwanda). Here in SA, however, there are FOUR major ethnic groupings, and several others. Add to the mix foreigners from abroad, and i think you have a recipie for trouble.


posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:07 AM
HI'm also glad that some South African issues are being given some attention on ATS.

I really agree with Gemwolf on this one, far too many people from outside the country, and within, especially those bitter whites who have fled for the likes of England and Australia are far too eager to badmouth the current socio-political situation in SA, declaring that all the blacks are now out to get the whites. But in reality, as Gemwolf has pointed out, SA suffers the same social ills as any nation faced with enormous poverty and wealth disparity. The fact of the situation is that there are poor, uneducated people who make rather bad judgements, as is the case anywhere.

What I do find particularly frustating about this situation, and many issues in the country at the moment, is the complete lack of foresight of our national government. Many may know about our embarrasing energy crisis, which has come as a result of the government ignoring warnings that electricity demand will outstrip production, this was ten years ago and they did nothing. Now their realising that we might face a water crisis!

But I refer you to this article () in which our national government declares that these xenophobic reactions have 'taken us by surprise', which I find utter nonsense and another unacceptable instance of a complete lack of foresight. I say this because South Africa has a veery liberal policy regarding immigrants and asylum seekers; we deny no one the right to seek political asylum, and we pretty much have an open border policy, by which southern African citizens can enter the country with a 3 month visa upon arrival.

Government must have been aware of the +-5 million immigrants living mostly in cities such as Johannesburg. How could they not have realised that the stiff competition for resources paired with widespread local poverty would not illicit some kind of negative reactions from our citizens?

On a more positive note though, our police forces are more than capable of handling situations like this in a professional manner; I severely doubt any live amunition will rear its ugly head.

[edit on 20-5-2008 by The_Modulus]

[edit on 20-5-2008 by The_Modulus]

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:39 AM

Originally posted by jpm1602
BBC 'Have your say' on NPR had a most compelling roundtable on subject last afternoon.

If you say so....

Africanis hate outsider africanis. Period.

Which i suppose explains why they are holding marches and vigils to speak out against the violence condemning those who use the methods of their common oppressors to settle scores? Africans are no more hateful of foreigners than anyone else on the planet and frankly this has far more to do with poverty, and the governments failure and lies, than it does with hate. This is desperation and the general result of social tensions arising from starvation wages; AIDS is just a more modern description for what used to be called 'starvation'.

Those that would come in and take subservient positions for low wages.

South Africa has minimum wage standards and since the majority works for that type of remuneration anyone who illegally pays foreigners less are more to blame for this violence than those who , out of shear desperation, are willing to accept it; blame the farmers and shopkeepers if you will.

Take out the machetes and axe them like the whitey farmers that were truly successful in harvesting your fields.

How could they not be more successful given ample cheap labor, loans from state owned banks who would lend only to them, and subsidies enough to afford the equipment competitive modern agriculture demands? In fact how where they supposed to farm after having been pushed off the best farming land for the preceding centuries? How where they supposed to retain the skills required?

You reap what you sow. Africans have not been successful at pulling their collective ranks together.

If only we did reap what we so but sadly the world has never been nearly as just. Africans, much like Indians, Chinese, South American, Eastern Europeans, the Irish, Scots and all other colonized people didn't have a hard time to make a living because they sucked at surviving ( they all had higher living standards before being colonized) but lacked the brutality, gang pressed cohesion, and technology to resist foreigners bent on stealing their wealth. Africans, like somewhat less colonized people elsewhere, will be more successful as the west declines in the type of power projection capability that have so far forced them stay in a virtual client state positions.

Tribalism at its best, not reserved to Africa either, the Mother of humanity.

Out of the mouth of babes but maybe you got this right by accident? hell.


PS. If your a South-African living abroad( or rather a European that went home or to some other colonized place) i am going to have a bit of a hard time valuing the type of opinion your likely to have so please do your best to be civil.

[edit on 20-5-2008 by StellarX]

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:57 AM
reply to post by The_Modulus

Gemwolf, Modulus, I agree 100% with you both. Not only the LACK of foresight with regard to OBVIOUS potential problems, but also the denial of them being a major problem when such things occur. The water crisis you mention will likely also be played down until it is very far along.

Even WITHOUT throwing Immigrants into the picture, there would still be stiff competition for resourcse and employment in cities. Things have finally reached a boiling-point it seems, and now many many people are joining in the violence.


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