150 Congolese held over vote violence

2012-01-21 10:00

Johannesburg - South African police arrested 150 supporters of opposing Congolese political factions over public violence during the DR Congo's chaotic electoral process, a spokesperson said on Friday.

A special task force arrested the suspects, all from the Democratic Republic of Congo, at their homes in Johannesburg after a series of clashes between expatriate supporters of Congolese President Joseph Kabila and opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, said police spokesperson Dennis Adriao.

"We followed up and arrested 150 people for public violence after investigations," he told AFP.

The arrests were made in the suburbs of Yeoville, Jeppe and Hillbrow, where thousands of Congolese and other African immigrants have flocked after travelling to the continent's economic powerhouse in search of work.

Identifying ringleaders

The area was the scene of aggressive campaigning in the run-up to the November 28 presidential elections in the DR Congo. Tshisekedi even visited Johannesburg ahead of the poll.

"As cases were reported a task team of detectives was formed," said Adriao.

Police studied footage of incidents to identify the ringleaders and held an identity parade on Friday, he said.

But a Congolese activist told AFP the arrests were politically motivated.

"The government of the DRC wants to silence Congolese that were campaigning for democracy in the DRC here in South Africa," said Jean-Pierre Lukamba, the deputy chairman of the African Diaspora Forum.


Adriao denied the accusation.

"People were arrested from both sides. Who a person supports is irrelevant to us," he said.

The group will appear in court on Monday. More arrests might be made over the weekend, said Adriao.

Incumbent Kabila was declared the winner of the election with almost 49% of the vote to just over 32% for Tshisekedi, but the poll was marred by fraud allegations.

In the wake of the vote, often violent protests erupted among the Congolese diasporas in Belgium, Britain, Canada, France and South Africa.

  • jowza1 - 2012-01-21 10:09

    send them all home.let them go fight there

      Ya - 2012-01-22 01:30

      You are surely an ignorant person who does not know the policy of his/her own country. President Zuma feeds the illegality in DR Congo through the company of his nephew Khulubuse Zuma, Caprikat and Foxwhelp. Please, be carful before speaking because your own wordss may bring you to ruin.

  • Jennifer - 2012-01-21 10:59

    Send them home!

      Sagegayala - 2012-01-22 21:07

      South Africa is their home too. The Congolese fought to end the apartheid, South African are involved in the crisis in Congo: arms sales, corruption, ballot stuffing, illegal exploitation of minerals, etc.. This is what freedom do to the negro, I prefer a South African negro during apartheid than as a free citizen.

  • William - 2012-01-21 11:15

    Africans from other parts of Africa particular illegal immigrants have started a new tactic of whenever they do something wrong they blame auhtorities, accuse people of xenophobia depending on the situation of the race and if white its racism and if Indian of being not African. South African its time to stand up and defend themselves against such accussation of blackmail meant to silence them. African immigrants majority of them are contributing nothing to the economy many came to South Africa to seek greener pastures not to develop this economy. Many have a nerve to always remind South Africans of the support Africa provided....but in reality very few countries supported our freedom fighters and those countries nationals which are Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozabique, Lesotho, Swaziland.... DO NOT GO AROUND REMINDING SOUTH AFRICANS OF THE SACRIFICES THEY MADE BUT ON THE CONTRARY ARE THOSE THAT DID NOTHING FOR THE STRUGGLE SUCH AS RWANDA, BURUNDI, CONGO, KENYA,SOMALIA,ERITREA, PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH, MALAWI THAT HAVE A NERVE TO BLACKMAIL US ABOUT THE SUPPORT. Even if it ws provided it was not a long term investment to off load their unemploymet problems to South Africa. Many illegals have a nerve to say they brought skills that help the economy grow but we all know that they are involve in hand to mouth business and many do not even pay tax. How many immigrants qualifies for social grants,child grants,free medical, housing?

  • Jackky - 2012-01-21 11:27

    the funniest part of the story is that this guys who are constituting a nuisance in our street here in the name of protest didnt travel home to vote for the candidate of their choice,they remained in joburg here expecting Tshisekedi to win without their vote,how stupid was that ???police should lock them up,cause if you send them home they,ll find their way back within some few days.

      Ya - 2012-01-22 01:44

      You have a selective memory that why you throw up this nonsense. Do you remember the apartheid? Do you think that if ANC people were all throw to jail you will have current freedom? Do you think that all ANC people were living within South Africa before the current freedom?

  • David - 2012-01-21 11:38

    @William, Jowza1 and Jennifer. I suppose your call is not only directed to those of black hue, but also to many ex Rhodesians and rooineks who are illegally in this country and are poluting our air with their racists rants? otherwise, it would be discrimatory to pick up on our poor black brothers/sisters who were only regstering their dissatisfaction about the outcome of elections back at home.

      Jennifer - 2012-01-21 11:58

      David you suppose wrongly. This is not about colour , it is about not bringing their war to our country. 'Clashes' suggests violence, there are other ways to show dissatisfactions. We have enough to deal with here with regards to housing, jobs, crime and lack of water without criminal elements from other countries bringing us their fights, if caught committing crime they should go home and be sent home again if they make their way back. Go vote in the elections instead of fighting over the results.

  • William - 2012-01-21 12:24

    @David ur comments lacks substance....many Africans particular Congolese, Nigerians, Ethiopians, Zimbabweans and Somalians tend to insults South Africans as stupid, illerate and lazy and hence they come to South Africa to help the country but their respectice countries are far worste in terms of economic and human developments. Funny that their countrie's economies do not reflect the success. For Africa to develope...dependency mentality that someone, somwhere ows them something should stop. South Africans did seek assistance from Africa during the struggleagainst apartheid but after the liberation all went back to South Africa. As they accusses South Africas of xenophobia...they should be doing a lot such as voting in mass numbers to effect change in their respective countriese and stop insulting South Africans. SOUTH AFRICA IS NOT A LAND OF THE PLENTY WE PAY TAX

      Ya - 2012-01-22 01:45

      You are surely an ignorant person who does not know the policy of his/her own country. President Zuma feeds the illegality in DR Congo through the company of his nephew Khulubuse Zuma, Caprikat and Foxwhelp. Please, be careful before speaking because your own words may bring you to ruin.

  • Zion - 2012-01-21 13:06

    Lock them up for 3 months and when they get out send them back with the warning that if they return they will receive a 1 year mandatory sentence.

      Ya - 2012-01-22 01:42

      You have a selective memory that why you throw up this nonsense. Do you remember the apartheid? Do you think that if ANC people were all throw to jail you will have current freedom? Do you think that all ANC people were living within South Africa before the current freedom?

  • William - 2012-01-21 13:19

    The reference about African brothers and sisters is a false solidarity based not on commonality but explotation and misplaced victimhood concept. Africans are not a homogenous group that see things through the same angle...why when one tells the truth is refered to as coconout or xenophobic. All over the world when your brother stays in your house due to some problems, you accept him but not for eternity at some point in time, he should find his feet and leave to start his own life. Why are all these people go home and solve their problems and start building their lives and if not so revolt and fight as many have done before like South Africans, Egypt, Libya and Syria.....South Africa government does not have a magic stick to solve Africa's problem.....PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE, CONGO AND OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES RISE UP FROM YOKE OF OPPRESSION AND FIGHT FOR YOUR LIBERTY AND STOP BEING A NUISANCE.....COWARDS!!!

  • David - 2012-01-21 16:54

    @Jennifer and William. Do you know how much noise it would have caused had police raided Sandton and other similar white suburbs? And do you know how much that would have invoked the reaction of international community had those sitted squatting on the road were whites? Your insinuation that colour is not a factor is both deceiving and unhonest. many of your kind keep a blind eye when a black person is at the rreceiving end of police harassment, violence, poor service delivery and crime. To you, it is good as long as it doesn't affect yourselves (read whites). William, to show that you are damp, you would not be replying to my submissions if they were baseless. In most cases, howlers resort to insulting than contributing meanfully to the debate and you fit the discription.

      Jennifer - 2012-01-21 21:51

      David, I'm not married to a 'white ' man take your racist junk somewhere else.

  • NubianCzar - 2012-01-21 21:49

    4. Why is Zuma's name being mentioned all the time by Congolese? Do you know that Zuma's nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, has two oil blocs in Lake Albert that he purchased for only $6 million? Of course South Africans are up on the Aurora case, the company he is bringing down to bankruptcy due to management. 5. Did you know that Zuma is trying to outbid other investors for the Inga Dam projects that will cost up to $80 billion. He signed an MoU with Kabila days before the elections ( That's defnitely not to benefit the South Africans nor the Congolese... All I can say is that South Africans have to look closely at this issue. What did Zuma do to have Congolese protest in South Africa when they never done such a thing before?

      Abram - 2012-01-26 15:48

      Khulubuse Zuma failed the people of South Africa,what is he doing in enrich themself and forget about the poor South Africans and Congolese.Zuma must step down he failed the continent of Africa.

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