Citizen reporter
3 minute read
4 Sep 2019
5:22 pm

Two burnt bodies discovered amid xenophobic ash of Alexandra

Citizen reporter

The death toll linked to xenophobic riots this week continues to climb.

A looted foreign-owned shop is seen burning in the Johannesburg township of Alexandra on September 3, 2019 after South Africa's financial capital was hit by a new wave of anti-foreigner violence. - The township was scene to a second night of urban rioting in Johannesburg, where hundreds of people marched through the streets on September 2 in an unusually large expression of anti-foreigner sentiment. Such violence breaks out sporadically in South Africa where many nationals blame immigrants for high unemployment, particularly in manual labour. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP)

News channel eNCA is reporting that JMPD officers have confirmed that two people died in a burning building in the township of Alexandra amid ongoing riots linked to xenophobia.

The police have said the bodies were burnt after arson saw shops going up in flames, and the second one was only discovered during cleanup operations by people looking to scavenge and sell scrap metal on Tuesday afternoon. The first had been discovered earlier.

They were not immediately identified.

The new grisly discovery may bring the current tally of fatalities caused by the anti-foreigner attacks in Gauteng to seven.

Gauteng police have identified three of the other five victims – two of whom were South Africans, while a third was a Zimbabwean woman.

Police confirmed to News24 on Wednesday that the two men killed on Tuesday in Brixton and Sophiatown were South Africans, while the security guard killed in Hillbrow on Monday was a Zimbabwean woman.

Police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the nationalities of the two men killed in Hillbrow and Jeppestown on Monday and Tuesday respectively were still unknown.

All five victims killed during the unrest were shot, Dlamini added.

Since numerous arrests have been made, there has been a stark decline in public violence and looting in areas of Johannesburg and Tshwane on Wednesday, Dlamini added.

News24 reported on Wednesday that the unrest in the Pretoria CBD was finally over, after the City of Tshwane and taxi operators reached an agreement.

While the taxi drivers were demonstrating in the CBD last Wednesday, after one of their own was shot and killed after accosting an alleged drug dealer, both the City and taxi associations distanced taxi operators from the violence and looting during the protests.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Police Minister Bheki Cele have condemned the violence and attacks.

In an unrelated incident, EWN reports that two people were shot and killed in Alexandra by a criminal in a vehicle on Tuesday.

Previous reports painted a picture of heavy violence in the overcrowded township, with one immigrant shop owner telling GroundUp how he had to escape through a window when a group of people tried to break down the doors and set it alight.

On Tuesday, Mizam Ahmad, one of the Bangladeshi shop owners in Alexandra, was carrying salvageable stock like speakers, radios, sweets and other goods out of his uncle’s shop and loading it into a van. The pavement outside the shop was strewn with burnt fruit, vegetables, tables, trolleys and chairs which belonged to street vendors who usually left their stock there overnight.

He was one of the immigrant shop owners salvaging what was left of their stock after a group of unidentified people looted and burnt their shops.

The streets were covered in rubbish and rubble when GroundUp visited the area on Tuesday morning.

Second Street and West Street were cordoned off by police who were letting only shop owners through to assess the damage and collect leftover stock. Emergency water services were dispatched to the area to put out the fires that were still burning.

The xenophobic violence in Alexandra followed similar attacks on mostly immigrant-owned shops across Johannesburg. The attacks started in Jeppestown on Sunday and had spread to Alexandra, Tembisa, Germiston, Kempton Park, Coronation Park, Turffontein and Malvern by Tuesday.

The wave of xenophobic violence that spread across South Africa in 2008 started in Alexandra.

People rummage through looted foreign-owned shops in Alexandra township, in Johannesburg, on September 4, 2019, after South Africa’s financial capital was hit by a new wave of anti-foreigner violence. / AFP / Michele Spatari

(Compiled by Charles Cilliers. Background reporting, News24 Wire)

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