Calls for calm amid tensions between locals, foreign nationals

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Deputy President David Mabuza has called for calm and restraint following recent outbreaks of protests against foreign nationals.

The Deputy President, who called for the adherence to the rule of law, was responding to oral questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday.

“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,” he said.

Concerns over increase in criminal activities involving foreign nationals

Also at the heart of these protests, are concerns that not enough is being done to deal with the issue of undocumented nationals, who end up getting involved in criminal activities.

“Of course we are 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.”

The Deputy President said the plans of these law-breakers were foiled due to intelligence driven operations by law enforcement agencies.

“We salute the work of the law enforcement agencies in the successful execution of that operation.”

“This continues across the country as a strong fight against criminals – for crime is crime, irrespective of the nationality of the perpetrator.”

The Deputy President 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.

“We must as South Africans, abide by values and behaviour patterns that will break our hurtful and damaging past, and keep our moral compass focused on the path of renewal and growth,” said the Deputy President.