Foreigners targeted as taxi drivers go on 'revenge’ rampage

Foreigners were targeted as taxi drivers went on 'revenge’ rampage
Foreigners were targeted as taxi drivers went on 'revenge’ rampage
Image: File/Siphiwe Sibeko

A number of houses were damaged and cars burnt on Monday following the arrest of nine taxi drivers after a Zimbabwean man was attacked and killed at his tuckshop in Klerksdorp.

The situation has been brewing in the North West province since Sunday morning‚ when patrolling police found a man with stab wounds.

“It came out later that the body with two stab wounds was [that] of a local taxi driver‚” said Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone.

Mokgwabone said a group of taxi drivers had gathered with the intention of avenging the death of their colleague‚ claiming he had been killed by foreigners.

“According to information available at this stage‚ reports suggest that later during the day‚ a 28-year-old Zimbabwean national was allegedly stabbed with a knife in his chest by taxi drivers while at his tuckshop‚” said Mokgwabone.

“He was taken to hospital but certified dead on arrival.”

He said before the killing‚ a group of people had been seen setting hawkers’ stalls alight at the taxi rank.

Mokgwabone said the public order policing unit had managed to normalise the situation. Police had then arrested nine suspects‚ aged between 22 and 52‚ on Sunday afternoon in connection with the murder of the foreign man and for public violence.

They are expected to appear in the Klerksdorp Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

At around midday on Monday‚ Mokgwabone said community members had started damaging property at Pienaarsdorp‚ where numerous foreign nationals live.

“They are burning property.”

He said a number of vehicles had been burnt at a workshop belonging to a foreign national.

“Properties were also burnt down‚ but we are not yet sure how many were destroyed. They also attempted to loot a tyre shop‚ but police managed to disperse them‚” said Mokgwabone.

Government said‚ in a series of tweets posted on its official account‚ that it was deeply concerned about the violent clashes in Klerksdorp.

“We are calling for calm and we are appealing to the communities of Klerksdorp to exercise restraint and uphold the rule of law.”

While people had the right to demonstrate if they felt aggrieved for any reason‚ “we appeal to the community to allow the police space to do their work and restore order in the area”.