‘If I die here my parents will have a heart attack’

2015-04-16 17:08

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A group of foreigners in Ekurhuleni have lashed out at the South African government, accusing it of failing to protect them against xenophobic attacks.

More than 500 people in the Primrose, Germiston, area were displaced last night after being ambushed by South Africans while asleep in their shacks.

An angry Amos Madhudhu said: “President Jacob Zuma has failed us. He has not protected us. How can a man fail to control his own children? He is the father of this nation and he must control it. Why is he failing to demonstrate leadership?”

The Zimbabwean, who came to South Africa in January, said rumours that an attack was imminent started spreading last night.

“We heard that we would be attacked and torched. When I was already in bed my church mates called us, saying we should run for safety.”

He said more than 500 foreigners abandoned their shacks and gathered at a nearby public facility.

“The police told us to go back to sleep, and we did. But before the sun was up I heard people running outside and when I went out I saw foreigners running for cover and we all ran away and called the police.”

Welcome Banda, a Malawian, said he didn’t sleep at home after he was violently ejected from his shack.

“They came, grabbed me and threw me out of the shack. Fortunately they didn’t beat me up, they just asked me to leave. I don’t know what happened to my property. I’m afraid they took everything.”

The Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department has divided those who have been displaced into a number of groups.

A police officer, who didn’t want to be named, said the municipality had arranged food for them and they would be housed at a hall in the Germiston city centre.

Mervin Zvigbo, also a Zimbabwean, accused the government of turning a blind eye to their plight.

“This happened in 2008. It is happening again but the government is not prepared. Some of the police officials are even asking us why we are not going home. I asked a police official to escort me to my shack to look for my valuables, but he refused. What kind of conduct is this?”

Equally shocked was Mary Mutunda from Tanzania. “I was robbed, stoned and beaten by a group of men yesterday evening. I survived because one of them asked them not to hurt or kill me. I have never seen such violence,” she said.

“I have decided that I am going back home. It is much better to go and die in my country and be buried by my mother and father. If I die here my parents will have a heart attack.”

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