Angry messages doing the rounds on Whatsapp and the social media in Diepsloot and its environs may snowball into another ‘xenophobic attack’ if not nipped in the bud.

Hitherto, there’s a planned shutdown of Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, that was meant to begin today (Monday, July 15). It has been suspended owing to fears of looting and xenophobic attacks.

The WhatsApp message doing the round demands that Eskom must “come down to Diepsloot and fix their mess” and that “undocumented citizens/illegal immigrants must leave Diepsloot with a (sic) immediate effect”.
Dipesloot residents also cited unhappiness about the completion of the R511 road and the Diepsloot East housing development.

However, it emerged on Sunday afternoon that community leaders had reconsidered the shutdown fearing violence.
“We can’t allow a shutdown that will give criminals an opportunity to loot the businesses of Diepsloot. So we are trying to avoid that. Yes, we are saying there are serious issues that need to be raised but we must find a proper way of addressing them. There were certain issues that we were not happy with, issues in the message which was circulating, for example, people from other countries that they should be dealt with,” community leader Sicelo Shezi told SABC News.
On Sunday, police spokesperson Captain Makgowanyana Maja told Centurion Record that the circulating message couldn’t be confirmed as either bogus or legitimate.

“We are, however, aware of it and ready to deal with it,” he reportedly said.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini told News24 that police members had been deployed as a precaution but that the area was “quiet” on Monday morning.
Reports also confirmed that foreign nationals are vacating Diepsloot for fear of ‘xenophobic attacks’.

Some Diepsloot residents who are artisans have also canceled their job schedules for Monday and Tuesday because of the planned shutdown.

Gabriel (surname unknown), a 41-year-old South African who works as a builder on a project in Blairgowrie told that the threat is real and should not be undermined.

Michael Ncube, a Zimbabwean national who lives in Diepsloot said the planned ‘xenophobic attack’ is a ruse by criminal elements to steal from foreigners. “If there is an immigration problem, Home Affairs will solve it. Why must people use that as an excuse? South Africans must stop linking foreigners living here to all the problems in their country”.

However, popular opinion on the street is that the threat should not be taken for granted.

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Femi Oshin
Femi Oshin 184 posts

Femi Oshin is a publisher at and Producer /Presenter of Agogo Ayo on Africa Magic Yoruba.

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