Foreign shop owners in Alexandra were forced to close their businesses on Monday during clashes with members of the Dudula Movement.
The “movement” is campaigning to have undocumented foreigners deported.
However, they have been accused of fomenting a xenophobic campaign against African immigrants.
Police have arrested six people linked to the so-called Dudula Movement in Alexandra.
They are allegedly part of a group of residents who attacked foreign nationals on Monday.
Several people were injured during the skirmishes between the two groups.
The protest action led by Dudula Movement (not related to Operation Dudula) targeted undocumented foreign nationals. Locals who sell their wares in the township were also affected.
The movement has been widely criticised for stoking anti-immigrant sentiment. On Monday evening, police were on high alert as people, under the banner Dudula Movement, burnt tyres throughout the night. One person was arrested for being in possession of a fake gun.
The district police commissioner of the Johannesburg cluster, Major General Max Masha, said they don’t tolerate lawlessness.
On Tuesday, five suspects linked to the Dudula Movement were arrested outside the Pan Africa Mall.
“Today, as our investigation continues, we have arrested a total of six people. We believe that these arrests will bring stability and calmness in Alexandra.
“A multi-disciplinary team has been working all night and this morning. We once again deployed officers on the ground to ensure that our people were safe. I can report that people are safe and can go to work and school.
“Since this morning, the area has been relatively quiet. There were incidents where they tried to burn tyres, but police cleared them,” said Masha.
Heavy police presence outside Pan Africa Mall seems to be all that is keeping the peace as community members under the banner Dudula movement threaten to close shops they say are owned by foreign nationals #AlexandraProtest @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/Ygp7v7Nhoy
— Lwandile Bhengu (@Lwandi_N) March 8, 2022
A large police contingent was deployed outside the mall on Tuesday after members of the movement threatened to return and shut down shops run by foreigners.
“Some of the arrested suspects could be leaders of Dudula Movement. We always maintain that we want to meet with their leadership. We welcome people raising their issues within the boundaries of the law.
“We call on all traders to return. We have been informed that members of Operation Dudula don’t recognise Dudula Movement as part of their own.”
Masha added that most Dudula Movement members claimed to be against illegal foreigners.
Masha said that they were willing to meet with leaders of the Dudula Movement to find a solution.
“We have always maintained that we want to meet them. We have met the leaders of Operation Dudula. We are willing to meet with the leaders of Dudula Movement.
“We welcome to meet with anyone who has issues to raise, but we can’t tolerate people who take the law into their own hands. They must leave it to us.
“All traders, including those who are legal, are definitely free to operate in Alexandra. My appeal to those that are not legal is for them to visit the Home Affairs and their embassies to obtain proper documents,” he added.