WARNING ON CONTENT : DISTURBING PHOTOS
on the rioting this last week in Johannesburg.
Residents laugh as a foreigner burns in his own blankets
Halden Krog- The Times photographer
The photos in this posting are from the South Africa riots this week.
As we made our way through the Ramaphosa squatter camp in Reiger Park on Gauteng’s East Rand, a woman’s words made us freeze in horror. “They are burning people down there,” she said.
I ran to the nearest police officer and said: “The locals say they’re burning a person at the other intersection.”
Officers leapt into a Casspir and a Nyala, and drove through the debris and barricades in the road.
I ran after them, with other photographers following.
Two hundred metres down the road we found the first man. He had been severely beaten and was semi- conscious. Police thought he was dead, but later realised he wasn’t.
About 25m from him a man was on his knees. There was a mattress covering him, and it was on fire.
He, too, was alight.
Police threw the mattress off him and kicked sand onto him to put out the flames. Another officer ran over with a fire extinguisher, pointed it at him and extinguished the flames. Other officers radioed for medical help.
The man was alive, but barely. He groaned, but he could not speak.
It was all over in 20 seconds.
There was a concrete pillar lying near him, splattered with blood. We can only imagine what was done to him before he was set alight.
The police stayed with him until the paramedics arrived, doing what they could . But residents gathered at the scene were laughing.
Kim Ludbrook, a photographer, admonished them, and we reminded them this was human being and that what had happened was barbaric.
Still they laughed.
The burn victim, whose name has not been released, died last night in hospital.
A man was ‘necklaced’ in Reiger Park as marauding gangs hunt down foreigners in the streets. Heavily armed police fought a ferocious battle across the greater Johannesburg area yesterday as xenophobia-related attacks spread like wildfire.
Since Friday, 12 people have been killed in attacks by rampaging South Africans trying to purge foreigners from informal settlements and central city districts in Johannesburg and the East Rand, following violence in the Alexandra and Diepsloot townships.
By late afternoon marauding gangs roved Johannesburg’s streets setting alight shops owned by foreigners in Jeppestown, Cleveland and Malvern, and engaging in running battles with police. Earlier, mobs attacked foreigners in Hillbrow.
In perhaps the most vicious attack, a man was “necklaced” in Reiger Park on the East Rand.
Jody Kollapen, chairman of the Human Rights Commission, said such scenes were reminiscent of “the dark days of apartheid”.
The HRC will meet today to discuss the violence.
One victim was a deaf mute who was attacked outside the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg. Known only as “Tarro”, the young man suffered a gash to his forehead at the hands of a mob.
Medical student Herbert Nedi tended to him and said the bewildered Tarro, who could only write his name and could not provide a surname, did not know what was happening around him.
“It was clear he did not have a clue what they [the mob] were talking about. He doesn’t understand what is going on,” said Nedi, as Tarro held a cloth to his head.
At the church, next to the Johannesburg High Court, the situation was on a knife edge as hundreds of Zimbabweans and other foreigners prepared for the worst.
They armed themselves with bricks, and a small police contingent had their work cut out as they vowed to protect themselves.
“Is this how you South Africans are going to treat foreigners when they come here for the World Cup?” asked one irate Zimbabwean, identifying himself only as Charles.
“This is a s**t country. It’s a shame to the rest of the world that they are allowing the World Cup to take place here. South Africans seem to think that no one’s life is precious.”
David Mokone, 22, came to South Africa three weeks ago, seeking a job and a better life. The young man, tears welling in his eyes, sat outside the church as others scampered for weapons to defend themselves.
“It’s better in my own country than it is here,” he told The Times. “I would rather go back and die in Zimbabwe than be killed by South Africans,” he said.
Tony Maara, 30, said: “I have never been more frightened. I didn’t go to work on Saturday because I was threatened. The world must take note of what is happening here.” His sentiments were echoed by 25- year-old Brian Burayai of Zimbabwe.
He said his brother was beaten up on Saturday when a group of Zulu-speaking men asked him if he knew the Zulu word for “elbow”. When he could not answer, they started beating him.
“I thought I would be safe here because Mugabe is a serial killer. But these locals are just as bad,” he said.
h/t Andy Mack