South Africa xenophobic attacks spread to Pretoria

Pretoria – South Africa’s Pretoria West residents went on a rampage on Saturday and petrol bombed two houses belonging to foreign nationals. They claim the immigrants were using the houses as brothels, recruiting young girls as prostitutes and introducing them to drugs.

In the past two weekends, at least 22 houses either belonging or being rented by foreigners were burnt in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg.

Locals alleged that “drug dens” were mushrooming in the area because of immigrants.

The chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum, Mr Marc Gbaffou, said the situation was tense in Pretoria, adding that immigrants had to close down their businesses and flee as the attacks started early on Saturday.

A repetition

“The situation is really tense, it’s a repetition of what happened in Rosettenville in the last two weekends. They say they are fighting drugs and prostitution and they are attacking shops belonging to foreign nationals,” Mr Gbaffou said.

No injury had been reported but police were yet to make any arrests.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said they had deployed a number of officers to the area to quell the violence.

Angry residents raided alleged drug dens and brothels on Saturday, burning two houses down as they went door to door in search of drugs.

The violence

“It is under control right now. We have deployed quite a number of police in the area to ensure that the violence did not flare up again,” he said.

By late afternoon on Saturday, residents were still walking up and down the streets under heavy police guard, vowing to root out criminality.