Operation Dudula in Soweto denies it is a xenophobic group, claiming its South African-first stance is deliberately misconstrued. This emerged at the organisation’s first National General Assembly held in Diepkloof, Soweto on Sunday.
They’ve lashed out at law enforcement agencies, claiming that they are also to blame for the deaths of the children who passed away after allegedly eating snacks from spaza shops.
The organisation says it will be intensifying its operations targeted at spaza shops, particularly those operated by foreign nationals.
“Foreigners have taken 90% of our township economy … 90% and the state is doing nothing about it. The state is quiet, and it is doing nothing. Now I am not just talking about spaza shops. I am talking about the economy, not just spaza shops, there is a whole list, we can count, and it cannot be right that it is all under the hands of foreign nationals. We are going to reclaim it,” says Operation Dudula President, Zandile Dabula.
In recent weeks there have been numerous incidents where a number of children fell ill and later died after consuming food and snacks bought from alleged spaza shops. It’s alleged that the food was expired. Dudula has accused those spaza shop owners of attempted murder and blamed police for complacency.
“If you allow someone to trade illegally and people die because of illegal trading it means you are an accomplice to a commission of crime because that is what it is about so you can’t just allow someone to trade and kill people and then just no it’s fine they can go,” says Isaac Lesole, Operation Dudula’s Acting General Secretary.
Gauteng Police however have refuted these claims. They say their mandate is to fight lawlessness and combat crime and not to give trading permits to spaza shops or anyone.
Dudula’s General Assembly had barely gotten underway when the cracks began to show.
“We do need to clarify that there are people out there who are pretending to be founders of Dudula and it needs to be cleared there are only three founders of Operation Dudula, and I will name and shame, Lux must stop claiming to be the founder of Dudula,” says Thabo Ngayo, Operation Dudula National Co-coordinator.
Dudula has also announced that they would be contesting the 2024 general elections.
Video: Operation Dudula – Zandile Dubula on reclaiming the township economy