Parts of Joburg sealed off after bricks thrown at cars

2015-04-15 17:43
(Mpho Raborife, News24)

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Johannesburg - Parts of Johannesburg's hostel belt in Jeppestown were cordoned off on Wednesday afternoon as police urged shop owners to drop their shutters and close up after groups of people started throwing stones at passing cars, a News24 reporter on the scene said.

Some of the roads leading to the Jules Street and the Wolhuter hostel, south-east of the city, were sealed off, as police took up positions in nearby Hanau Street.

Five people have been killed in clashes between locals, foreigners and police in KwaZulu-Natal since Friday - one of the victims a 14-year-old boy - and there have been fears that the violence might spread up country.

Police on the scene in Johannesburg said residents of the hostel attacked panel beating shops owned by foreign nationals.

Jacaranda News published a video clip of people throwing bricks at a man in Delvers Street in Johannesburg's CBD, and at nearby cars. 

Afterwards, Mengstu Hailemariam, who has been in South Africa since 1997, showed the raw wound on the arm the brick had hit and said: "I was walking past a group of Nigerians. There was a crowd of foreigner standing outside, they had all closed their shops.

''The taxi drivers driving past started shouting that foreigners must go back home. So we asked them why they want us to go, because we are here to work. Then someone walking along the street threw a brick."

Police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini could not immediately comment on the incident as a case had not been opened with police he said, but added that police had conducted a counterfeit goods raid on stalls and shops in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning. 

He also could not say yet whether Wednesday afternoon's developments were linked to the raids, but was on his way to the scene in Jeppestown to gather information.

Clashes in Durban

As with clashes in the Durban area, the group melted away after the attack and the hubbub of taxis and pedestrians going about their business in the city resumed.

Another Ethiopian man said he felt that South Africans were too violent. 

Carol Lloyd, who was driving past the Jeppe hostel area, which is near Kensington and Troyeville, had a huge stone thrown at her car by a group of people gathered along Jules Street, which links Germiston and the CBD.

''I use this road because I cut through the route to get to the highway. I'm annoyed, they are so childish,'' said Lloyd who had a journey to Pretoria ahead of her.

Earlier, an Ethiopian street vendor in central Johannesburg said he had received SMSes and WhatsApp messages warning that he and his countrymen faced attack.

“It seems that there are attacks planned for Johannesburg on Wednesdays: CBD, Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville. [On] Wednesday, Zulu people are coming to town starting from Market [street] their mission is to kill every foreigner on the road please pass this to all your contacts in case they come people should be on alert [sic],” it reads.  

He said shop owners had opened their businesses in the morning, but after seeing people running up and down the streets closed again.

A Nigerian street vendor pleaded for the government to do something.

"The president isn't saying anything. This xenophobia thing is coming back again because the government did not do what it was supposed to do in 2008. There is no security here. If anything were to happen, what will they do?"

Ntombifuthi, 27, from the Eastern Cape, who lives in the CBD, said if government did not want foreigners in the country it should tell them, instead of watching them being killed.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  xenophobia

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