Deputy President David Mabuza has called for calm and restraint following recent outbreaks of protests against foreign nationals.
The Operation Dudula movement has been gaining momentum in parts of Gauteng. On Wednesday, shops were forced to close and businesses ceased trading for the day, after an alleged wave of ‘xenophobic violence’ ripped through Pietermaritzburg CBD.
MABUZA CALLS FOR CALM AMID TENSIONS
Mabuza was responding to oral questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday, 16 March.
Mabuza said the Department of Home Affairs has a legal mandate to deal with concerns relating to undocumented foreign nationals.
“That is why we discourage any anti-foreigner sentiments and the destruction of property associated with these protests and related activities. This includes protests and marches that engender violence directed at foreign businesses and undocumented foreign workers.
“Whilst concerns raised may be legitimate, they must be raised and attended to within the law. We call for calm, restraint, and adherence to lawful means from all parties who are involved in the on-going confrontations.”
INCREASE IN CRIMES INVOLVING FOREIGN NATIONALS
Mabuza also said that government is concerned about the recent increase in criminal activities involving foreign nationals, especially in the Gauteng province.
“These include the recent cash-in-transit heist that took place in Rosettenville, in which nine people died and several others were injured. Most of these people were foreign nationals,” he said.
The Deputy President also said the Ministry of Police has advised that members of the Public Order Policing Unit are currently deployed in Alexandra township in Gauteng to assist with crime prevention interventions and to contain the spread of attacks on foreign-owned businesses.
“The Community Policing Strategy also provides for police to work with communities to address threats to peace and stability, including acts of xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.
“We thus encourage cooperation between concerned community members, and law enforcement agencies in ensuring that all the issues raised, are resolved peacefully and within the confines of the law.”