Stones and bricks were thrown at vehicles in Actionville, on the East Rand, after crowds threatened to attack foreign owned business on April 16. Photo: Reuven Blignault

Stones and bricks were thrown at vehicles in Actonville, on the East Rand, after crowds threatened to attack foreign owned business on April 16. Photo: Reuven Blignault

Shops along Reading street in Benoni closed today after threats by local residents from nearby Actonville hostels. 

This comes after a week of violent xenophobic attacks flared up across South Africa. 

According to Warrant Officer Maqabe Ramothakhi, a crowd of about a hundred people gathered in front of the Actonville hostel and threatened to attack foreign shop owners before dispersing this morning. 

The crowd gathered again a short while later and began throwing stones.
“They were targeting private and delivery vehicles,” according to Ramathakhi. 

Police then fired rubber bullets and teargas in order to disperse the crowd.
No injuries or incidents of damage were reported to the police.  

“They take everything for mahala, these outsiders.”
One man who only identified himself as Scorpion said that many of the people living in the hostels did not have jobs and that the shops were owned by foreigners. 

“They take everything for mahala (for free), these outsiders.” 

According to the Ramothakhi many of the people were taking advantage of the situation and threatened to attack the shops and delivery vehicles. 

Ruth Mbhele who works in Benoni said she and her sister had to leave work to come and fetch their children in fear that they would also be attacked.
She explained that her eldest niece phoned them whilst walking in Wattville and they could hear her saying, “Don’t hit me I’m from school.” 

Ramothakhi said that they suspect that there may be further incidents in the area tonight.  “A case of public violence was opened by the police,” said Ramothakhi. Shop owner Lovely Singh said they were advised to close their shops this morning as a precaution but will try to reopen tomorrow.