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Hundreds of Operation Dudula members have marched through the streets of Durban demanding that the government take strong action to deal with high numbers of illegal immigrants.
The protesters sang and chanted anti-immigrant slogans, under the watchful eyes of the police. They then proceeded to Point Police station where they handed a memorandum with demands.
They called for government action to address the issue of undocumented immigrants, alleged to be involved in various criminal activities.
“So the issues are that people are coming into the country and they are not documented and the government is doing nothing about it,and it’s difficult to find them when they commit crime. We just need our departments to actually enforce the laws that are there, because these laws are not enforced.” Zandile Dabula, the National Secretary for Operation Dudula said.
The rise in anti-immigrant sentiment once again in mostly low-income South African communities, also known as townships, has left immigrants and refugees fearing for their safety but Dabula wonders why.
“I don’t understand why we should be called xenophobic because all we are asking is that people need to be documented when they come to this country. It’s done in other countries but people are not called xenophobic, but why are we being called xenophobic when South Africans are doing it?”
For Dan Radebe, deputy chairperson of the movement, “Durban becomes a critical point of this movement because it houses the busiest harbour in the Southern African Development Community”. “That is the very same harbour they are using as the point of entry for all the fake goods that have flooded our country, killing our textile industry which then affects the unemployment rate as well.” Radebe added.
Operation Dudula is a splinter group from a faction in the Put South Africans First movement, an organisation that first popularised and renewed anti-immigrant campaigns on social media before finding expression on the ground. The new movement is led by 36-year-old Nhlanhla ‘Lux’ Dlamini, born Nhlanhla Paballo Mohlauli.