Former IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s attempt to appeal to the party faithful in Johannesburg on Sunday appear to have partly fallen on dead ears, with a portion of the crowd leaving after the nonagenarian leader pleaded for peace and more humane treatment for foreign migrants in South Africa.
He scolded the defiant crowd for their attitude as they sang songs drowning him out. Another section of the crowd remained, but did not seem receptive to the message calling for a more welcoming attitude towards foreign nationals.
Earlier, protesters numbering in their thousands, with some brandishing traditional weapons, could be heard marching along Jules Street in Johannesburg demanding that foreigners should go back to their countries of origin.
Many of the men live in male-only hostels in Johannesburg.
They were on their way to listen to Buthelezi, but some of them evidently didn’t stick around for long.
The SABC is streaming the proceedings live below.
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini reportedly also promised this week to address the recent xenophobic violence that rocked the city of Johannesburg and beyond in Gauteng.
The king said that when he went to Johannesburg, the city would be at a standstill and quiet.
Zwelithini added that he had a programme that would bring peace and unity, which started with the Zulu nation.
The king called for his people to be unified and to be cautious of the so-called divide-and-rule tactics, which had been used by colonisers.
“This is the same thing that is happening today, disguised as xenophobia.”
South Africa has experienced a wave of protests, in which communities have looted both foreign and South African-owned shops while calling for an end to the presence of drug syndicates.
Gauteng has been the hardest-hit province, with sporadic violence occurring across all three of its big metros, and at least 10 people dying.
Two migrants were among the 10 people killed, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in an address on Thursday. He also said that 423 people were arrested in Gauteng in response to the attacks.
(Edited by Charles Cilliers)