“All these attacks on foreigners are by people who are frustrated and do not know where to direct their anger,” said a resident who identified himself as Duma.
“Unemployment, crime and drugs drive people to do such things,” he said.
Deputy minister of police Maggie Sotyu, accompanied by safety and security MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, and Gauteng police commissioner General Lesetja Joel Mothiba held an imbizo with Alexandra residents at the local stadium.
Sotyu asked the residents to raise their concerns following attacks on foreign nationals in the sprawling township.
Mozambican street hawker Emmanuel Sithole was stabbed to death in the township and a Zimbabwean couple was shot and wounded at their house in the township on 19th Avenue on Monday night.
The 33-year-old man and his 22-year-old girlfriend were both wounded in the upper body and rushed to hospital. Sotyu said no amount of poverty or anger warranted the killing of another human being. ”After killing that person, do you suddenly put food on the table? Do you get a job too?”
Some residents complained that government came into Alexandra only when something huge such as the death of a person has happened. Government was too slow to respond to their problems.
“As young people, we use every available structure to raise concerns but hit a brick wall. We cry for help…young people in Alexandra are frustrated by the bureaucracy in government,” said Thabiso Masoa, whose statement was met with a loud applause from other residents.
Other residents accused the local police of taking bribes from criminals.
Mothiba said people should take time to learn how government functions.
“We do not tolerate corruption in the SAPS, and I know that sometimes it can be very difficult to proof that someone accepted a bribe. I appeal to you to approach authorities with such information,” he said.
“The Alexandra station commander Brigadier Ngcobo is here, go to him, go to the cluster commander, call me or the Ipid (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) if you have such information.”
Sotyu said government would not rest and would keep fighting xenophobia among communities.