Operation Dudula is taking its message to KwaZulu-Natal. That's the word from deputy chairperson Dan Radebe before a march planned for Durban on Sunday to mark the official launch of the movement in the province.
The organisation, which was announced in June 2021 and has mushroomed in various parts of the country, with its main objectives being to root out illegal immigrants who came to find jobs in South Africa, was due to have launched in the province three weeks ago. The launch was called off, however, because the organisers had not obtained permission from the city for the event.
Speaking at a press conference in Gateway, Umhlanga, on Tuesday, Radebe said members would be marching to the home affairs offices to demand that the department do its job.
“We cannot have illegal foreigners roaming our streets without them being in check of that. They [home affairs] must make sure that they get rid of illegal foreigners in the country. They must make sure that people don’t come in and out of the country as they please.”
He said they would deliver another memorandum at Point police station in Durban.
This is in relation to a Durban University of Technology (DUT) student Sphesihle Duma, whose body was found floating in the sea at South Beach two weeks ago. TimesLIVE reported that her family said she was last seen leaving a nightclub in the area after a fight with a man who was allegedly a foreigner.
“They must explain how does a girl child get killed by a non-South African on their watch because we expect them to be the protectors of South African people.”
He said the two marches would form part of the official launch of the movement in the province.
“After that march, local members will remain behind to carry out activities of Operation Dudula. That is why we are starting with a march before the launch.”
Radebe claimed that Mpilo Gumede, a member of their local leadership, had been arrested on Tuesday morning, allegedly “for circulating a post that is alerting people about the march”.
He said this was concerning because it comes just two weeks after the organisation's leader, Nhlanhla “Lux” Dlamini, was arrested. Radebe appeared to have declared war against the government over the arrests of Mpilo Gumede and Nhlanhla Lux.
“We will not take it lightly. If that is how the state is going to deal with us, then we will find a way of dealing with it as well.”
He said South Africans should be allowed to express their anger.
“There is no-one who is going to silence the people of SA expressing their anger and their frustration because they are the ones who are feeling the pinch, who are unemployed. It is their democratic right, which we fought for, to express their anger. So if they are going to be labelled with names such as 'vigilantes', it means that they must submit to poverty and accept it for the rest of their lives. That cannot be correct.”
Radebe said they will approach the public protector to hold to account government departments that employ illegal foreigners.
Zandile Dabula, Operation Dudula general secretary, added that they would launch a digital network that will circulate information about their activities to their supporters.
“This will eliminate criminal activities going on around the country, with people [incorrectly] saying they are Operation Dudula and taking money from foreign shop owners and the likes. This is to avoid that,” she said.
Parboo Sewpersad, eThekwini metro police spokesperson, confirmed Tuesday's meeting with Operation Dudula leaders but denied that permission has been granted for a march.
“We had a meeting only today. The city manager must approve it, which he has not yet done, and we will call them when and if it is approved.”