Abahlali baseMjondolo: Foreigners attacked in PMB

27 05 2008

There have been no attacks or harassment of any sort in any of the settlements affiliated to Abahlali or with an Abahlali branch. (The movement has members in Durban, Pinetown, Tongaat & Pietermaritzburg.)

Foreigners attacked in PMB
26 May 2008

Bongani Hans

REPORTS of sporadic attacks on foreign nationals have surfaced in
Pietermaritzburg. The past weekend saw property set alight and a
Zimbabwean national leaving Imbali, covered in blood.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, a shack in the city centre
occupied by a Congolese man was burnt down. The occupant was threatened
earlier in the day and told to get out of SA.

That evening he moved out of the shack behind the Solid Rock Global
Ministries church complex in Retief Street — and found it gutted the
next morning. He had spent the night in the church building with other

According to the refugees, they could smell burning, but were too scared
to come out of the building. They only emerged when they heard the fire
engine siren.

“We saw about 20 people standing on the concrete wall separating the
complex and Kismet Hotel. They started shouting, ‘Kwerekwere, go back to
your country!’,” said refugee Didier Matindi.

The Imbali attack happened on Saturday, when a Zimbabwean known only as
Ebel was stabbed by a young man in his rented room after he refused to
hand over his cellphone and money.

An eyewitness said Ebel was preparing to leave SA because he had been
intimidated previously and was selling some of his possessions. A group
of young men went to his room and pretended to be interested in buying
his things, but once inside they produced knives and held him up.

“When he refused, one of them stabbed him on the head. Ebel grabbed a
knife and stabbed one of them in the shoulder and they all ran away
after neighbours were alerted …” said the witness.
He said Ebel refused to go to a clinic. He collected his belongings and
boarded a taxi.

“We accompanied him to the city, where he bought a hat to cover his
injured head. He boarded a taxi saying he was going to Durban to get
transport to Malawi,” said the witness.

Yesterday, a Malawian vendor was attacked in Slatter Street near the
Imbali taxi rank, apparently by taxi drivers and conductors. They
pointed to an elbow and asked him what it was and when he didn’t know
the obscure Zulu word, they then called him “ikwerekwere” before
assaulting and robbing him.

A Congolese woman said their South African friends have turned against
them. “I run a salon in Pietermaritz Street, and next to it there is a
coffee shop where I have been always buying a cup of coffee in the
morning. But on Friday when I went to buy one, the waiter told me there
is no coffee for me and I must leave …”

Another Congolese woman said that in Impendle on Friday she and a friend
going to sell clothes were insulted and told to leave the country.

“These people were like friends to us. They welcomed us with open arms …
But suddenly they turned against us,” said another woman.

Another woman said that yesterday morning a man came to her complex
looking for a house to rent. When she told the man that there was no
room, the man said: “You kwerekwere have a place to stay while I don’t”.

It won’t happen here, say residents of PMB’s Jika Joe

(Ash Road has a strong Abahlali branch. A non AbM member did try to attack a person born in another country but he met instant and stiff opposition and its now clear that the settlements is safe for everyone except xenophobes bent on violence)

26 May 2008
Nokulunga Ngobese

Residents of the Jika Joe informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg have
taken a stand against attacks on foreigners.

While the informal settlement in Ash Road is mainly inhabited by local
citizens, it has accommodated more than 500 foreigners over the years.

Criticising xenophobia at an imbizo aimed at informing residents about
recent Msunduzi housing development plans for them, ward councillor
Peter Green said: “This behaviour of attacking foreigners is totally
unacceptable … Everyone should be respected as human being.”

“Residents have promised us that cases like this will not happen in
their area,” said Inspector Hamilton Madakana.

Community leader Bongani Mkhize said that what has been happening in
this country is bad and Jike Joe residents do not want it happening

He said community members need to work together. “If residents in every
community can catch one or two group leaders of these attacks, the whole
thing can stop.”

Foreigners who have been living in Jika Joe for two years said they are
unhappy and shocked.

“We are here to make a living so that we can support our families. We
urge South Africans to stop assaulting us, because everyone is a
foreigner in a country that is not his birth place,” said Benard Filo
from Malawi.

Refugee Chaos Grows

27 05 2008
May 27 2008 at 02:19PM
Source: IOL

Without a co-ordinated intergovernmental strategy to manage the aftermath of the xenophobic violence, the city’s safe centres, community halls and churches will continue to battle to accommodate the more than 20,000 displaced foreigners who need shelter, food and medical assistance.

And conditions at the various safe sites and military bases vary from adequate to inhumane, with thousands of Somalian refugees housed at Wynberg’s Youngsfield military base complaining that the army is barring them from leaving the site.

Refugees here were issued with an armband and a number when they arrived, and body search before they could enter the main hall.

Many complained that they did not want to be housed in “camps” reminiscent of concentration camps.

The press was barred from entering the site where, according to the couple of hundred refugees outside, thousands of people were being housed. Read the rest of this entry »

Press Statement: African brothers and sisters and AEC to march on Gugulethu police station today

27 05 2008
Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
27th May 2008

GUGULETHU, CAPE TOWN - The Anti-Eviction Campaign plus our African brothers and sisters who live in Gugulethu are going to march on Gugulethu Police Station at 12h30 today (Tuesday 27 May).

The community is marching against Afrophobia (xenophobia) and demanding more protection from the police. They want to be safe and they don’t like to be harassed and they want to remain in those places where they have always stayed.

It is also very disturbing to see that the Zille regime in Cape Town has taken advantage of the perilous situation that those who have been attacked are in, and swiftly moved them to very remote places, basically setting up de facto refugee camps.

Thousands of refugees have been moved, without consultation, to Kommetjie, the West Coast and Strand where they are totally cut off from their workplaces or from the opportunities to do piece work.

“We don’t want our own brothers and sisters to be isolated from the community. We don’t want any authorities to discriminate against them by removing them from our communities. We are totally against what the government is doing in this regard because they did not even consult the relevant people on the ground” said Mncedisi Twalo from Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign.

For more information, call Mncedisi Twalo on