Soweto residents chose to commemorate the spirit of June 16 1976 under the banner #OperationDudula in an aggressive stance against undocumented foreign nationals.
A contingent of more than 1 000 people met at the Diepkloof Community Hall on Wednesday to air their grievances with the SA Police Service and other law enforcement agencies. Their main gripe was what they referred to as the scourge of nyaope abuse and unemployment, which are rampant in their community.
They claimed they were being sidelined from work opportunities by the municipality which allegedly employed non-South Africans.
Community leader Peter Dime stressed that the operation was not against foreign nationals but sought to fight those who sell drugs.
“We want to mark the spirit of Youth Day by addressing issues that affect our community. This is not political. It [campaign] was started by concerned residents who see the lives of their children go down the drain due to drug abuse and unemployment,” Dime said.
He added that the march also sought to encourage law enforcement agencies to help the communities to root out drugs.
Delinda Nevilimadi, a 32-year-old unemployed mother of two, told City Press that Youth Day had little meaning to her.
Nevilimadi said she was struggling to earn a living. “I had to shut down my business last month because of a lack of revenue,” she said. She added that she would like help to secure funding to complete her studies in beauty therapy.
Thabo Phiri (20) said he came out in support of the march because the police were allegedly failing to arrest the drug dealers.
Phiri said he was tired of watching his peers turn to substance abuse.
“The worrying thing is that we report these matters to the police but no arrests are made. The community knows the perpetrators and I want to join the cause by asking that the police must not turn a blind eye [to these crimes],” he said.
Under the banner of #
The march was in contravention of Covid-19 regulations. South Africa entered lockdown level 3 on Tuesday night. Under the newly gazetted regulations, outdoor gatherings have been limited to 100 people with adequate social distancing observed.