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Rampage as foreigners demand money

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Independent Newspapers

Violence erupted in a part of Durban known to host several homeless Tanzanians, with reports that a child was amongst the injured. Stock picture: Phill Magakoe

Durban - Bands of homeless Tanzanians went on the rampage in Albert Park in Durban on Thursday, attacking compatriots they accused of not financially supporting them.

The attackers stabbed five people and a six-year-old boy’s leg was broken as Tanzanians stampeded to get away.

A flat and spaza shop were set alight and a number of cars were damaged.

One man was thought to have died after being stabbed in the chest. Others were hacked with pangas.

Late yesterday taxis took the injured to hospital as ambulances were slow to arrive.

The Albert Park area is home to thousands of foreigners from across Africa.

Tanzanian Ramadhani Juma explained that those with jobs had, until recently, been giving some of their wages to their fellow unemployed countrymen in a gesture of brotherhood.

But yesterday the employed Tanzanians said they had had enough. This is what ignited the violence.

Yannick Ponda, also from Tanzania, said they had rented a commune on the South Coast for their unemployed “brothers”, but that they had moved to be closer to the city.

Now many were living rough along the railway line near the Berea station, but still demanding money from their countrymen.

Ponda said: “These people are here in South Africa not willing to work, but are surviving by committing crime and selling drugs to young South Africans. We don’t want anything more to do with them.”

Last night the community held a meeting to discuss marching to the local police station to ask for a 24-hour police presence in the area and the removal of the homeless from the railway line.

Councillor Willie Zenzile appealed to the community not to resort to violence.

A number of people were arrested.

Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said they were picked up because they were illegal immigrants.

No one was arrested for public violence. - The Mercury


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