Operation Dudula anti-immigration marches to begin in SA

Anti-immigrant marches led by the South African group Operation Dudula are expected to begin today. The South African government issued

Protesters marching in support of Operation Dudula

Anti-immigrant marches led by the South African group Operation Dudula are expected to begin today as the xenophobic movement’s political influence grows – Photo: Tebogo Letsie/City Press

Anti-immigrant marches led by the South African group Operation Dudula are expected to begin today.

The South African government issued a warning to Nigerians and other African immigrants in South Africa to anticipate xenophobic attacks following an announcement by Operation Dudula that they would be marching against foreigners.

The group was created in Soweto, a few months after riots in July 2021 sparked by the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma, taking the name Dudula which means to “force out” or “push back” in Zulu. Operation Dudula has capitalized on increased inequality in South Africa, blaming immigrants for crime and high unemployment rates. In the past, South Africa has seen flashes of violence directed at foreigners, the worst of which occurred in 2008 when over 60 people were killed and again in 2015 when five people were killed. In recent years, opposition parties like ActionSA and Patriotic Alliance have taken advantage of xenophobic sentiments to make significant gains in municipal elections.

Ahead of elections in 2024, Dudula is going to continue to gain influence in South African politics. In the medium-term, parties such as ActionSA and Patriotic Alliance are expected to show support for Operation Dudula, drawing voters away from the long-dominant African National Congress (ANC).