Sapa, 19 May 2008
PLEASE NOTE: Readers wishing to reproduce and
reference this article
should contact the editors of the Sapa for permission
A Mozambican national was found dead in Makause informal settlement in Germiston, on Monday morning, police said. Another two people, also Mozambican, were severely beaten in attacks police are linking to a wave of xenophobia that continues to draw condemnation. "They discovered another body in the informal settlement overnight and another two Mozambicans were beaten up," said Inspector William Masondo, spokesman for the nearby Primrose police station. He said the injured men sustained severe head injuries after being stoned and although the area appeared quiet, police were present in the hopes of quashing further attacks. Meanwhile, there had been further unrest in a "tense" Reiger Park, said spokeswoman Sasa Lengene, on her way to investigate a report of an attack in Ramaphosa. Methodist Church Bishop Paul Verryn said at least an extra 300 people had flooded out of the church in the Johannesburg CBD when the doors were opened early on Monday. Verryn said a group of armed people had approached the church, with a long reputation as being a shelter for asylum seekers and refugees, on Sunday night, but police intervention sent them away. "It is so sad," said Verryn. They need security, blankets, food and counselling. But most of all they just need to be treated as human beings." Speaking from where he was part of a team monitoring a community meeting in Kyasands on the West Rand, Gauteng police spokesman Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said a police statement providing an overview of the situation province-wide would be issued later. According to a police report late on Sunday, 13 people had died over the weekend and at least 200 had been arrested in connection with the attacks, which the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa has called "un-African". "We call upon the government of South Africa to use all its powers in law to stop this un-African behaviour by misguided people who have lost all sense of ubuntu, which essentially says strangers are always welcomed with open arms, treated with respect and protected in an African home." Meanwhile, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, worried that attacks might spread to industrial workplaces, has decided to launch a campaign to educate workers against the dangers of criminalising foreign nationals and "portraying other African immigrants as undesirable people". The Democratic Alliance reiterated its call for military intervention, saying the situation was uncontrollable as many informal settlements were being attacked at once. It also said money spent on arms could have been better spent securing the country's borders.