With xenophobic violence raging on in parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal, rumours of potential xenophobic attacks have begun to spread in Johannesburg. Several foreign-owned shops have closed their doors to the public today, after allegedly receiving threats from a mob.
The mob has allegedly threatened to attack any foreign-owned stores that remain open. According to news reports, most of the shops on Lilian Ngoyi Street, formerly known as Bree Street, are now closed. Eyewitnesses have come forward saying that people are looting foreign-owned shops in the Johannesburg CBD and that men are running into the shops, beating the people and customers that are in the shops.”
According to Eye Witness News, a message began circulating on social networks On Tuesday, cautioning South Africans of possible attacks against foreigners in Johannesburg today.
The message reads,“Xenophobic attack is just around the corner for the second time around JHB CBD and neighbouring areas like Alex, Olievenhoutbosch, Zandspruit, Msawawa, Cosmo city, Tembisa, Randburg, Princess, Kysand, Kaalfontein, Germiston, Benoni etc… The spokesperson for this Furious group honourable Khimzman Mquebulera warns his fellow South African on Wednesday not to ride the Bicycles as Malawians and Zimbabweans does, because this attack will be more destructive than ever before, pliz send this notice to ur all frinds to be in doors on Wednesday.Take ir serious our friends r killed like Coackroaches (sic).”
Metropolice spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said, “We have observed that many of them are closing their shops. Why they are doing that we cannot confirm right now. The situation is being monitored closely.” While police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini says he was unaware of any violence.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says it’s been inundated with calls from foreigners who fear for their safety.
Meanwhile, the violence is still ongoing in Kwa-Zulu Natal, with continued reports of threats on foreign nationals.