Just like during the dark days of apartheid South Africa, your identity card or document could spare your life.
This is the situation in overcrowded Tembisa, east of Johannesburg, where an armed mob of locals is terrorising Vusimuzi informal settlement, demanding to see South African IDs as they “flush out” foreigners.
Madoda Sango* was rudely awoken by a loud knock on his shack door on Wednesday just before midnight with people shouting, “Hey wena mfana wo Mshangane [Hey you Shangaan boy], vula la, sifuna ukubona iID yakho [open this door, we want to see your ID]”.
Sango’s shack was among those razed or demolished as community members went from shack to shack forcing foreign nationals to leave the area. Yesterday, a number of shacks and businesses mostly belonging to foreigners were burnt and only sheets of zinc and rubbish remained where the shacks once stood.
Sango, 29, originally from Port Elizabeth, was sleeping with his girlfriend and their nine-year-old daughter.
“When I opened the door a group of community members armed with sticks and pangas forcefully entered my shack and some started helping themselves to my furniture. I told my girlfriend to run away with our daughter as I tried to explain to the people that I am South African,” Sango said.
His plea, however, fell on deaf ears as they started demolishing his shack.
“My shop, which is just next door, was already burning.”