Monday, October 18, 2010

(MnG) Row brews over necklacing comment - 1997

Row brews over necklacing comment
Gillian Farquhar
Mar 27 1997 00:00

TELEVISION journalist Max du Preez has lashed out at the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) and The Flame Lily Foundation, an organisation which represents the interests of former Rhodesian citizens. Du Preez's criticism stems from a complaint lodged by The Flame Lily Foundation about statements he made in the programme Truth Commission Special Report, which is under adjudication.

Du Preez's contentious comments were broadcast by SABC1, February 9, and referred to the origins of necklacing: "The myth perpetuated by the state then [1984 to 1989] was that this was an example of African brutality. The truth we now know is that this repulsive form of killing was first started by white Rhodesian security forces in the 1970s and then brought to South Africa by the security police."

The Flame Lily Foundation chair Edward Sutton-Pryce, a former deputy minister of defence in Ian Smith's government, states in a letter of complaint to the BCCSA that Du Preez's reference to white Rhodesian security forces is "untrue and malicious" and "a misrepresentation of the truth". Any Rhodesian security force member found carrying out "such a dastardly act" would have been prosecuted, he says. Demanding proof or a retraction and an apology, he castigates Du Preez for a casting doubt on the "integrity of all former members of the Rhodesian security forces".

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian this week, Du Preez says he used the term necklacing according to its popular usage, which encompasses the use of fire to kill people or burn bodies.

In a responding statement to the BCCSA, he says the myth perpetuated in South Africa was that this practice of necklacing originated in a primitive African belief that the victim would only die if his soul was also destroyed and that, the urban legend went, could only be done by fire.

His remarks on the programme were intended to debunk this myth, says Du Preez, since "the practice in South Africa was actually not started by township people or the liberation movements, but by security policemen".

Du Preez's statement to the BCCSA argues that former Vlakplaas operatives Eugene de Kock, Dirk Coetzee and other ex-security policemen openly admitted, before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to necklacing. They have also stated that they learnt this practice and other dirty tricks during time served in the Rhodesian security forces, says Du Preez, adding that Coetzee has stated that he first burnt bodies at the orders of his superiors while serving in Rhodesia in 1974.

De Kock has repeatedly said that his first experiences of "dirty war" were in the Rhodesian conflict, says Du Preez, arguing that De Kock and a number of other policemen have told the truth commission that their post-traumatic stress disorder began when they were fighting in Rhodesia as it was a particularly cruel war.

Furthermore, the founder of the South African Police Service's death squad at Vlakplaas, general Jac Buchner, was a Rhodesian veteran who then joined the service, he said.

However, the BCCSA demanded further "indisputable" proof from Du Preez subsequent to this submission, arguing that statements to the truth commission are untested and therefore not proof enough.

Du Preez says he is angry that the BCCSA is "acting like a court of law" and disappointed that the commission should entertain a complaint of this nature from Sutton-Pryce, who was "one of the top men in a racist white government".

Du Preez says he is prepared "to go all the way" in providing any and all evidence the BCCSA requests. He says he has an affidavit and photographs from Coetzee supporting the veracity of his statements as well as several supporting documents from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Justice Ministry in Zimbabwe, extracts from books published on the Rhodesian war and statements from local and foreign journalists who covered the war. This is indisputable evidence that the practice in question, and much worse, was carried out by Rhodesian security forces, says Du Preez.

Furthermore, he says it is "outrageous that Sutton-Pryce can play holier-than-thou" with comments aimed at portraying the Rhodesian conflict as a "gentleman's war" when there is a substantial body of evidence, much of which has been in existence for some time, showing otherwise.

"The real pity is that the Rhodesian security forces did not have to face a truth commission. If they had, I firmly believe they would not make these kinds of claims. This is an insult to me, to the truth commission and to South Africans in general. For organisations like The Flame Lily Foundation to pull this kind of hypocritical stunt is abusing the hospitality of this country."

Sutton-Pryce could not be reached for comment, but BCCSA chair Kobus van Rooyen admitted that he was "well aware" of the possible danger of conservative elements misusing the BCCSA for personal gain. However, he argued that the Du Preez case was justified as the complaint fell within the commission's brief.

"Du Preez's evidence was unilateral and insufficient. As a quasi-judicial body, the commission is bound to take up issues such as these," Van Rooyen said.

Labels: , , ,


At 3:49 PM , Blogger MrK said...

(HERALD ZW) Who are next victims of xenophobia?
By Itayi Garande

THE current xenophobic attacks in South Africa are a bad reminder on the history of the country and the nature in which they are being carried out is very disturbing.

Young South Africans, between 16-25 years are killing "foreigners", including Mozambicans, Zimbabweans, Nigerians and many others, using methods said to have been employed by military men in the Rhodesian security forces and also employed during the apartheid era.

One of the methods we saw used by these young people was "necklacing" (that is, the burning to death of selected individuals, with the aid of inflammable liquid and/or vehicle tyres).

According to film maker and presenter (then reporting for the South African Broadcasting Corporation) Max du Preez:

"Between September 1984 and August 1989, 771 people were ‘necklaced’ or doused with fuel and burnt to death. The myth perpetuated by the state then was that this was an example of African brutality. The truth we know now, is that this repulsive form of killing was first started by white Rhodesian security forces in the 1970s and then brought to South Africa by the security police . . ."

However, in 1997 SABC was found guilty of contravening the Broadcasting Code by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa for publishing that statement.

This was after a complaint by the Flame Lily Foundation — "a non-profit organisation . . . run for Rhodesians by Rhodesians", according to its website.

Du Preez’s statement was made after footage of a woman being burnt, stoned and kicked to death by a mob in South Africa was shown on SABC.

What is surprising is that the same method talked about then is now being used — 11 years later — by young people who were barely adults in 1984-89.

This method has been in existence for a long time in South Africa. The practice was employed during disturbances in South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s, and was used against alleged criminals by "people’s courts" established in black townships as a means of circumventing the apartheid judicial system.

"Necklacing" was also used to punish members of the black community who were perceived to be collaborators of the apartheid regime. These included black policemen, town councillors and others, as well as their relatives and associates. The practice was frequently carried out in the name of the African National Congress, although the ANC officially condemned the practice.

At the last ANC congress we saw their youths drunk, aggressive and openly displaying firearms and read about the sexual harassment that went on.

We saw the young thugs heckle Mosioua Lekota, South Africa’s Minister of Defence, who was jailed at Robben Island Prison for challenging apartheid.

The linking of the current problems in South Africa should be done cautiously. These youths are not only manipulated by "dark forces", but are also impatient with the current pace at which wealth is being distributed in an "independent" South Africa.

The pictures we see in South Africa today are not new.

What is new are the targets.

At 3:50 PM , Blogger MrK said...

(Continued 1...)

In 1985, we saw the pictures of Maki Skosana — "Her body had been scorched by fire and some broken pieces of glass had been inserted into her vagina," according to an investigating committee.

"After having seen so many ‘necklacings’ on the news, it occurs to me that either many others were being performed (off camera as it were) and this was just the tip of the iceberg, or that the presence of the camera completed the last requirement, and acted as a catalyst in this terrible reaction," said photojournalist Kevin Carter in the mid-1980s.

Carter — "one of the integrands of a group called the Bang-Bang Club, a group of four friends, photojournalists that dedicated themselves to exposing to the eyes of the world the brutal regime of South African apartheid" — later committed suicide two months after he received a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for a "necklacing" photograph.

He was 33 years old and left a goodbye note:

"I am depressed . . . without phone . . . money for rent . . . money for child support . . . money for debts . . . money! . . . I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings & corpses & anger & pain . . . of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners . . . I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky."

Ken Oosterbroek was his friend and member of the Bang-Bang Club who was shot while covering a firefight outside Johannesburg. So the violence in South Africa is not new. The players are many; the agendas are multifarious; and the outcomes are unpredictable.

Those who send us the images help spread consciousness, but should do more than that. They should report as accurately and responsibly as possible.

In their pursuit of the best image, they should protect themselves and the community they wish to inform; and make sure that they do not perpetuate and encourage more violence.

There is a new moral dilemma in media today. For example, how far should one go to pursue images like the ones we are inundated with daily? When should journalists put aside their impartiality and get involved in reducing the violence, or protecting victims of violence?

Should a journalist continue filming a burning man?

Should a journalist apportion blame?

And when should a journalist’s assessment of the problem start?

These are the questions we should be asking when tackling xenophobic attacks in South Africa, which are not a new phenomenon but whose victims keep changing.

Who are the next victims?

This is a pertinent question when we see "necklacing" and violence permeating popular culture and our everyday politics; and when we are unsure or do not care to find out the crux of the problem.

In an episode of the Canadian/South African sci-fi series Charlie Jade, executives from Vexcor threaten Charlie’s friend Karl with necklacing if he does not give them information. Incidentally, this scene takes place in Cape Town. In the opening scene of the film "Bopha", an African traitor is "necklaced" by a mob of other Africans.

In the movie "Tears of the Sun", Bruce Willis’ sniper shoots a man who is in the process of "necklacing" a man in the name of ethnic cleansing. He is referred to as "the Zippo man" because of the "Zippo" lighter he was brandishing.

When opposition leaders say, "I have argued for years that the greatest threat of the crisis in Zimbabwe was not here (Zimbabwe), but in South Africa where despite the disparity in size, we are capable of destabilising that country very effectively," should we then say an age-old problem has been created by newcomers? —

At 3:59 PM , Blogger MrK said...

More on the Third Force activities in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The leading suspects in South Africa are the Inkhata Freedom Party (IFP), which committed similar violence in the run-up to the 1994 elections in South Africa. Violence very similar to the violence in the run-up to the 2001 and 2008 elections in Zimbabwe. - MrK

(MNN) Is Zimbabwe Violence a British Operation?
Posted: 2008/07/06
From: MNN
by Douglas DeGroot

Reports indicate that the gruesome violence, unprecedented since independence (in 1980), that the London-based Anglo-Dutch financial cartel-dominated international press is using to work world opinion into a frenzy against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, is controlled top-down as a high-level British-run counterinsurgency operation.

by Douglas DeGroot

African military intelligence sources have told EIR that the brutality and professional, execution-style nature of the killings and violence during the period leading up to the June 27 Presidential run-off election in Zimbabwe were obviously not the actions of misguided youth, but reminded him of the British-style special-forces counterinsurgency operations that were used against the freedom fighters in Zimbabwe before independence, which were carried out by the Rhodesian Selous Scouts. Reports indicate that the gruesome violence, unprecedented since independence (in 1980), that the London-based Anglo-Dutch financial cartel-dominated international press is using to work world opinion into a frenzy against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, is controlled top-down as a high-level British-run counterinsurgency operation.

Those concerned about Zimbabwe should stop googling for stories that blame everything on the government, and look at reality instead. The London-centered financial cartel is intent on eliminating the sovereignty of Zimbabwe, and South Africa, to clear the way to turn Africa into a globalized free-trade looting zone. South African President Thabo Mbeki's understanding of this strategic reality has helped Zimbabwe stave off the ferocious British attack, up to now.

The Selous Scouts special forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army, the most vicious of the Rhodesian special forces groups, was a more advanced form of what the British had deployed in Kenya, and Malaya (today Malaysia) before that, in the respective struggles of those countries for independence from the British Empire. The Scouts regiment, named after Frederick Courtney Selous, a friend of the southern African champion of the British Empire, Cecil Rhodes, was set up in 1973 by a Rhodesian, Ronald Reid-Daly, who was a veteran of the British SAS counterinsurgency in Malaya. The charter of the Selous Scouts directed the clandestine elimination of freedom fighters inside and outside the country, according to the June 2 Zimbabwe Guardian.

The British-controlled operatives are singling out members of the British-backed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for brutal attacks, including the mutilation of bodies, and then blaming the attacks on the ruling Zanu-PF party of President Robert Mugabe.

How the Operation Works

According to the Zimbabwe Sunday Times June 1, top opposition MDC officials have been "working in cahoots with some Rhodesian elements to set up underground structures that are behind the anti-immigrant attacks in South Africa and the terror campaign in Zimbabwe." The Times reports that, "Although the MDC has been claiming that its supporters have fallen victim to political violence, top party officials are allegedly recruiting young Zimbabweans in South Africa who are being deployed to cause terror in Zimbabwe." The Times said that people are being recruited from universities in South Africa, and others are Zimbabwe National Army deserters and former policemen.

At 4:00 PM , Blogger MrK said...

(Continued 1...)

Zimbabwean sources report that the modus operandi for these forces, in Zimbabwe, is to have their operatives dress up in the regalia of the ruling Zanu-PF, and go out to commit an atrocity. They then alert the press that an atrocity has taken place. The press arrives on the scene, hearing witnesses saying that the attack was carried out by Zanu people.

The Times reports that one group of recruits is known to be based at a farm in South Africa near Pietermaritzburg, where youths are being trained by former Rhodesian Selous Scouts.

Selous Scouts and Rhodesian forces, according to the Guardian, are said to have introduced the form of attack called necklacing (tying up a person, and killing him by burning a tire placed around his neck) into South Africa. Following the dissolution of Ian Smith's Rhodesian regime at the time of independence, the Guardian reports, many of its soldiers travelled south "to join the South African Defence Force, especially the 5 Reconnaissance Commando."

MDC Presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai was, in the 2005 election, the candidate of choice for Smith, Rhodesia's last leader as a British colony, under whom the Scouts carried out their murderous campaign. Tsvangirai is still backed today by veterans of Smith's Rhodesian Front, such as Roy Bennett, who has become his chief fundraiser. Bennett has crisscrossed British Commonwealth countries to raise funds, and was also in the United States a few months ago.

On June 23, at a UN Security Council meeting at which Britain wanted the UNSC to name Tsvangirai as President, because, ostensibly, violence by the government made a fair vote impossible, Zimbabwe's permanent representative to the UN, Amb. Boniface Chidyausiku, neutralized the British initiative, when he told the Security Council meeting "that there have been numerous cases of MDC-T (Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC) supporters going around dressed in Zanu-PF regalia and beating up people."

"This is an outdated strategy used by the Selous Scouts during the liberation struggle," Chidyausiku said, "and with the predominance of Selous Scouts in the MDC-T, it is obvious what is going on." As a result of the submissions by Chidyausiku and the South African ambassador, the Security Council decided not to call for halting the run-off, and not to call for installing the British-backed Tsvangirai to replace Mugabe, without a run-off.

At 4:08 PM , Blogger MrK said...

(MAIL & GUARDIAN SA) 'Third force' allegations abound
23 May 2008 06:00Zodidi Mhlana, Niren Tolsi, Sello S Alcock

The ANC and the Gauteng government have both hinted darkly that a "third force" is stoking and orchestrating xenophobic violence -- without producing a shred of evidence to support this conspiracy theory.

Unnecessary characterization. - MrK

Although it has not been made explicit, the suggestion is that the Inkatha Freedom Party is the culprit.

The ANC and the Gauteng government have both hinted darkly that a “third force” is stoking and orchestrating xenophobic violence—without producing a shred of evidence to support this conspiracy theory.

Although it has not been made explicit, the suggestion is that the Inkatha Freedom Party is the culprit.

There are strong indications that some of the attackers came from migrant worker hostels in Johannesburg, particularly those in Alex, Denver and Jeppe, but no evidence has been produced of party political instigation.

In addition, much of the violence has taken place in informal settlements where there are no hostels.

During a tour of the violence-hit areas this week Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils claimed that “we are not just seeing spontaneous xenophobic attacks ... There are many social issues at the root of the problem, but we have reason to believe that there are many other organisations involved in sparking the attacks. We are analysing the situation.” Kasrils did not name the organisation or organisations allegedly responsible.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe referred all queries regarding the existence of a third force to the Gauteng government. Gauteng ANC spokesperson Nkenke Kekana reportedly claimed “a hidden hand” was trying to destabilise communities.

Gauteng sports minister Barbra Creecy, speaking on behalf of provincial safety and security minister Firoz Cachalia, reportedly said: “The police now have concrete evidence of those involved in orchestrations and they are dealing with it.”

On Thursday the director general of the National Intelligence Agency, Manala Manzini, claimed that the violence had been deliberately unleashed and orchestrated ahead of next year’s general election. Sapa reports that he was speaking to African intelligence chiefs at a conference in Cape Town. Manzini said that the media had defined the violence as xenophobic, but that the problem was more complex because South Africans of Tsonga and Venda descent were also targeted.

“We believe that as South Africa prepares for another national election early next year, the so-called black-on-black violence that we witnessed prior to our first election in 1994 has deliberately been unleashed and orchestrated,” Manzini said.

The Umkhonto we izwe Military Veterans’ Association also claimed on Wednesday that the violence was politically motivated. “This is not just innocent violence,” said MKMVA secretary Peter Ngubeni.

At 4:13 PM , Blogger MrK said...

(Continued 1...)

Ngubeni said that on the East Rand attacks seemed to come mainly from hostel dwellers. Because foreigners do not live in hostels, there appeared to be another reason for them to be attacking people with whom they had no contact. He said political parties were trying to garner support before the next year’s elections.

The theory was given impetus when The Sowetan reported that a suspect arrested in connection with attacks on foreigners in White City Jabavu, Soweto, confessed to being paid to attack foreigners. But when the Mail & Guardian approached SAPS spokesperson Mpande Khoza, he dismissed the report. Khoza said that the newspaper had merely overheard community members suggesting that one of the suspects “had been paid”.

A senior Gauteng government official, who asked not to be named, told the M&G that an IFP branch meeting in Alexandra on the Sunday preceded the eruption of violence in that area. He claimed a resolution to attack foreigners was adopted at the meeting and attacks were launched the same day. “We are still investigating, but that is the information we have. We don’t want to cause panic by publicising this,” the official said.

He added: “You must ask yourself why most of the violence broke out in areas next to the hostels in Cleveland, Jeppe and George Goch. Anyone can see the relationship between the violence and the hostels. Even in Tembisa the violence was next to Madelakufa hostel.”

The official said that Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo and Gauteng housing minister Nomvula Mokonyane recently held a day-long meeting with about 500 community represen-tatives about the province’s renewal project in Alexandra. “The meeting went very well and the issue of foreigners did not come up at all.

“I suspect that some people have started their election campaign and they decided that the issue of foreigners would be an election issue. Ask yourself: who is being served by this violence and who stands to lose?

Government spokesperson Thabo Masebe dismissed suggestions that Creecy was referring to a third force. He said she had been trying to describe the style of the attacks, which led the Gauteng government to believe they were orchestrated.

Masebe confirmed that the police, in collaboration with the National Intelligence Agency, are investigating those responsible for the violence.

Reacting, IFP secretary general Musa Zondi said that claims of IFP involvement were “propaganda”, as members of all political parties are involved in the attacks. “It is mischievous to single out the IFP. There’s no denial that members of the IFP, ANC and PAC are involved in this, across the board. Hostel dwellers are not IFP members only. They belong to the other parties as well. Sanco members are also involved,” said Zondi.

Meanwhile, ANC leaders in KwaZulu-Natal blamed a third force and criminal elements for looting a Nigerian-owned tavern and intimidating foreigners living in a lodge in Umbilo, Durban.

Provincial safety minister Bheki Cele said the attack on the Ultimate Fast Food and Bar, at which there was predominately foreign clientele, was “without a shadow of a doubt IFP-engineered”. IFP provincial chairperson Mntomuhle Khawuhle described the accusations as “irresponsible”.

On television this week political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki dismissed ANC attempts to shift the blame on to criminals as scapegoating.

Niren Tolsi is a senior journalist with the Mail & Guardian.

* Read more from Niren Tolsi

* Twitter: @NirenT

At 4:20 PM , Blogger MrK said...

On the killing of white farmers for political effect, which was carried out in the 1980s by Super ZAPU, under Operation Drama, directed by the brother of 'anti-apartheid activisist' Breyten Breytenbach, col. Jan Breytenbach, founder of the South African Special Forces' 1st Reconnaissance Commando. I want to know if the same tactics were used during the land reform program in the 2000s, in order to discredit it and grab international headlines.

From the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe's March 1997 report:


"Operation Drama" was the South African code name for the undercover support of Zimbabwean dissidents. It was carried out under the direction of Col Moeller and Col Jan Breytenbach. Operation Drama's primary role was the formation and funding of "Super ZAPU". This was a small band of dissidents, recruited from refugee camps in Botswana and trained in four camps in the Transvaal. Super ZAPU operated in southern Matabeleland in 1983 and 1984, exacerbating the security situation already in existence. Precise numbers of Super ZAPU and the degree of material support offered by South Africa to Zimbabwean dissidents remain largely conjecture, although it is clear the Zimbabwean operation was far less extensive than those in Angola and Mozambique, which operated concurrently.

Those interviewed about the South African involvement in Zimbabwe all commented that it is noteworthy that far less is known about South Africa's military destabilisation policy in Zimbabwe than about its Mozambique or Angolan operations. The lack of available knowledge suggests that fewer personnel were entrusted with information about "Operation Drama", which in turn suggests that the Zimbabwean operation was not only smaller, but regarded as more highly sensitive.

At 4:23 PM , Blogger MrK said...

It also suggests that Breyten Breytenbach's brother Jan Breytenbach was extremely highly placed in the South African security forces, especially as he was the founder of South Africa's special forces' 1st Recce Commando. If anyone should be asked why Super Zapu targeted white farmers in Zimbabwe for political effect, it is he. It would also be interesting to ask him if he knows of any such operations happening during the 2000 land reform program. Several of the killings were military in style - ambushes with the use of automatic weapons. Special attention should go to Henry Elsworth, Martin Olds, and Gloria Olds. And that's already 3 out of 11 total. - MrK


South Africa's policy of simultaneously destablising Zimbabwe by military means, while blaming ZAPU for the actions of South African agents whenever possible, helped escalate the irrevocable breakdown between ZAPU and ZANU-PF in the early 1980s. This in turn led to the decision of Zimbabwe's Government to retain the State of Emergency throughout the 1980s, and more significantly, to impose massive troop numbers and restrictive curfews on Matabeleland.

At 4:23 PM , Blogger MrK said...


Super ZAPU was the group of South African backed dissidents, which operated in Southern Matabeleland from late 1982 until mid-1984. Super ZAPU consisted of probably fewer than 100 members who were actually actively deployed in Zimbabwe. They were largely recruited from refugee camps and led by ex-ZIPRA members, who had been retrained in South Africa, in the covert operation known as Operation Drama. A Zimbabwean Government briefing paper on the situation in 1983 conceded "the recent efforts of the Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland have offered the South Africans another highly motivated dissident movement on a plate". Some sources claim that it was once again Matt Calloway, an ex-member of the Rhodesian CIO who acted as a double agent for the South Africans, who was a key player in the campaign to recruit from Dukwe Refugee camp in Botswana.

While they operated, South Africa provided ammunition for Super ZAPU, and some of this found its way to other dissident groups in the country: arms and ammunition used by dissidents frequently indicated South Africa as the source of origin, particularly during 1983. Super ZAPU were also directly responsible for the deaths of white farmers in southern Matabeleland, during their time of operation.

However, other dissident groups treated them with suspicion because of their South African link. "We said we don't want to be UNITA", was the comment of one ex-dissident, who saw a connection between Super ZAPU and South Africa's involvement in the civil war in Angola. Loyalty to ZAPU ideals by local dissidents contributed to the fact that Super ZAPU was comparatively short-lived. By mid-1984 Super ZAPU was collapsing, partly as a result of clashes with other dissident groups, and also because of official military response and complaints to South Africa from the Zimbabwean Government.

Apart from its role as a destabilising force, Super ZAPU probably also played a minor anti-ANC role. Since the 1960s the ANC had used Matabeleland as one entry point to South Africa, and placing Super ZAPU in Matabeleland would have helped provide a buffer zone against their infiltration. While some sources contend that Super ZAPU had a brief revival in 1985, evidence in support of this is not well substantiated.

At 3:54 PM , Blogger MrK said...

Continued out South Africa's 'xenopohobic attacks':

(HERALD ZW) BREAKING: SA police arrest three over xenophobic attacks
November 25, 2013
Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau

Some of the remains of property belonging to Zimbabweans that was burnt by a mob of South Africans in xenophobia motivated attacks last Thursday night.

South African police have arrested three men who are believed to be the masterminds of the xenophobic attacks which saw a mob of natives burning five shops, two houses and two vehicles belonging to Zimbabweans on Thursday night in Liphalale town under Limpopo Province.

Among the vehicles that were burnt were a Ford Bantam and a Nissan pick-up belonging to a Zimbabwean businessman.

Sources from Liphalale today said the trio is also linked to the disturbances in Maropong suburb between April and May this year. Tensions had been high since April 16 when a number of Zimbabweans living in the area were attacked by South Africans.

The volatile situation in Liphalale has forced Zimbabweans living in that area to form a committee to engage the local community and policy makers on the repeated attacks.

The committee’s organising secretary Mr Jefta Mararike, who is also a victim of the attacks, said in a telephone interview today that the trio was arrested on Friday morning.

He said the situation had slightly improved following the deployment of police officers to the suburb.

“The police have arrested three men who were leading the mob in both incidents (May and last Thursday). They took action at the intervention of the Zimbabwe consulate. The police have indicated to us that the suspects will appear in court this week and we hope to see justice prevailing,” he said.

“The situation is improving slightly though most of us are still skeptical about the way the police are handling the issues. They gave us assurances that they will be a heavy presence of police details but we are only seeing very few on the ground”

He said many Zimbabweans living in the area had relocated to other towns, while others have adopted a wait and see attitude.

Liphalale police spokesperson Warrant Officer Mokoena who last week refused to answer questions from The Herald could not be reached for comment. In May, five shops belonging to Zimbabweans were razed down to ashes by a mob in Marapong suburb in the same town.

It has since been established that the Liphalale Business Forum which operates small to medium enterprises is behind the onslaught on Zimbabweans whom they accuse of putting them out of business and of fanning crime in the area.

Zimbabwe’s Consular General to South Africa Mr Godfrey Magwenzi, who last week visited the area with South African police, said in a telephone interview that he will issue a statement later.

Zimbabweans living in South Africa, especially Limpopo and Gauteng provinces have been on the receiving end of xenophobia motivated attacks.

At 3:22 PM , Blogger MrK said...

This article appears in the July 4, 2008 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Is Zimbabwe Violence a British Operation?
by Douglas DeGroot


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home