Xenophobic attacks, Freedom Park

‘Bulaka zonke – kill them all:’ xenophobic attack campaign, Freedom Park, Johannesburg

Sunday Jan 23 2011 – Gauteng resident Tiger Botha placed a warning on Face book early on Sunday alerting people to  a blue VW golf, number plate XDC 611 GP. “On its back is written ”Bulala zonke – Kill them all”. Welkom area. Obviously these are instigators, and probably dangerous..”


Indeed these people driving around with a sign “Bulaka zonke – kill them all” are very dangerous: the Afrikaans-language Radio Sonder Grense and SABC-TV reported from 6am that xenophobic attacks are again breaking out in the sprawling Freedom Park squatter camp, south of Johannesburg and elsewhere in South Africa. Trouble has been brewing for the past few months.

Xenophobia Freedom Park Jan232011 SABCTV 6am

SABC-TV and RSG radio  reported at 06:00: ‘locals accuse foreign nationals of committing crimes, stealing their jobs, and cheating them out of their RDP (government) houses.” http://www.rsg.co.za/nuusbulletins.asp

Gangs of indigenous black South Africans are reportedly racing through the township, threatening to close down all the businesses owned by black foreigners. Tension has been simmering in the past few months and local community-leaders are working hard tryng to diffuse the situation, calling for calm. The SAPS is patrolling the area and the United Nations refugee-agency monitors also are on the scene. 

In 2008 more than 60 foreigners were murdered and many tens of thousands of impoverished, African migrants were driven away by black South Africans.

1995 Buyelekhaya (go home) campaign:

A 1998 Human Rights Watch summary of the xenophobic violence in South Africa in 1995 noted that migrants from Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique who lived in Alexandra township next to Sandton were ‘physically assaulted over a period of several weeks in January 1995, as armed gangs identified suspected undocumented migrants and marched them to the police station in an attempt to ‘clean’ the township of foreigners.’

The campaign, known as ‘Buyelekhaya’ (go back home), blamed foreigners for crime, unemployment and sexual attacks. In September 1998 a Mozambican and two Senegalese were thrown out of a train. The assault was carried out by a group returning from a rally that blamed foreigners for unemployment, crime and spreading Aids.
In 2000 seven foreigners were killed on the Cape Flats over a five week period in what police described as xenophobic murders possibly motivated by the fear that outsiders would claim property belonging to locals.


Which are the true refugee stats  for Southern Africa?


Above :  The UN’s latest summary of the refugees floating about in Southern Africa according to the UNHCR Global Appeal statistics. These stats show that South Africa is being overwhelmed from all the countries to its north by tens of millions of black foreign Africans, all of whom are impoverished, homeless, poorly educated and putting a heavy strain on the country’s resources, jobs, clean water and food. According to the above projection, the South Africa Regional Office is managing the survival-needs of nearly 22,5-million refugees. http://www.unhcr.org/ga10/index/html#africa

However – according to the UNHCR’s 2011 budget for South Africa –  it only has about 470,000 refugees of whom about 85,000 are currently being assisted by them. http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49e485aa6



About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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