Diepkloof residents protest against drugs, illegal immigrants

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The community of Diepkloof in Soweto is up in arms, protesting against drug use, the manufacturing of drugs, illegal scrap yards and the hijacking of buildings in their community.

They have also called for illegal immigrants to leave the area, saying foreigners are killing the businesses of local spaza shop owners.

The march happened on the same day the youth of Soweto took to the streets to protest against the use of Afrikaans in schools in 1976. A move that put South Africa on the global map, and eventually led to countries pushing for the end to apartheid.

At the start of the march, residents demanded police raid a house they say drugs were being manufactured in, saying they are tired of drugs and drug peddling in the area.

Residents then marched to the Diepkloof police station where they demanded that one of the march organisers, who was arrested on Tuesday, be released.

Residents against the use of drugs in their community:

Protest organiser Nhlanhla Lux says some members of the police are allegedly taking bribes, even when they’re investigating serious issues.

Lux says, “Some police are part of this system. So the community has come together to ensure that we address these issues because law enforcement has failed us through dirty police. So our campaign is positive because we have identified the house and we have searched the houses and we came up with evidence that these houses are where people use drugs and sell drugs.”

Residents also called for illegal foreign spaza shop owners to leave the area. They say their presence in the township and high prices make it impossible for locals to conduct business.

“We are not saying foreigners must just leave. We are saying everybody must protect the laws of the country. And where foreigners are concerned we are saying those who are here illegally and do not have papers for business or themselves. They must be taken into the hands of the police and sent back to where they come from. But those who comply we are saying thank you and we will work with you,” says Lux.

Police continue to maintain a strong presence in the area.