rich organisations want them deported
Street vendors paced nervously, huddled in pairs, wondering if it was safe to unpack the carvings, baskets and wire sculptures they sell daily to tourists on the one of the small craft markets that dot the coast.
A police notice the day before had warned of possible protests by a group known for attacking immigrants, but nothing had happened yet.
“They want to take our businesses away from us,” said a vendor from a neighboring country, who went to live and work in South Africa a few years ago, before adding that he feared for his life and that of his family.
Anti-immigrant sentiment has been a long-standing problem in South Africa, where the end of white minority rule has failed to bring meaningful change to many black South Africans. Attacks on migrants have risen sharply since May 2008, when an estimated 62 people were killed and dozens injured in Johannesburg in one of the country’s worst xenophobic attacks.
The police advisory in Cape Town in late May flagged a possible ‘Operation Dudula action’. The group recently opened a branch in Cape Town, the country’s main tourist destination, after months of targeting poor neighborhoods around Johannesburg and Pretoria.
He has been accused of intimidating and terrorizing migrants from countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, who typically live in black townships in South Africa..
At the beginning of April, a gang from Diepsloot township in Johannesburg stoned and burned alive Elvis Nyathi, a Zimbabwean father of four, when he had not produced documents proving that he was legally in the country.. Seven men have been charged in connection with his murder.
The Operation Dudula campaign is seen as a coordinated effort, rather than a general response to chronic poverty and inequality that persists nearly three decades after the end of apartheid.
In a sudden bout of racial killings, a South African suburb sees a dark history repeating itself.
Sharon Ekambaram, who heads the refugee and migrant rights program at Lawyers for Human Rights, said the latest wave of xenophobia appeared to be supported by well-funded organizations.
“What’s different is that the face of vigilantism is a new phenomenon in the way violence is organized,” she said, “it seems to be orchestrated and organized.”
“Dudula” means “to push back” in the Zulu language.