Sunday, 19 April 2015

More than 300 arrested for xenophobic violence – Gigaba

Despite an outbreak of xenophobic violence and looting, government insists its intelligence services remain competent enough to detect and counter violence before it flares.

“We are on the ground looking at various issues but to secure the country will also need South Africans to play their part. People with evil intentions stay within us, ” State Security Minister David Mahlobo told reporters in Pretoria on Sunday.

“We do receive messages, we act. The country is relatively stable today, it’s because of the intelligence operations. Remember we have military and crime intelligence in state security. We have a handle of the situation.”
A man is lead away by police after being found in a foreign national's shop in Jeppestown, April 17, 2015. Xenophobic attacks started in the area last night and continued into the early hours of this morning, with police maintaining a high presence in the area, while assisting foreign nationals to leave the area. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark
Mahlobo was addressing journalists on government’s response to a spate of xenophobic attacks targeting African immigrants. Seven people have been killed so far in different parts of South Africa.

“Sometimes people coordinating their evil deeds are sometimes a little bit tricky, some few steps ahead, but in most of the instances can we be able to prevent the incidents. If we can’t prevent it, can we ameliorate it, ” said Mahlobo.

“In our case we are very confident that we have done well.”

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said government had provided food, shelter and other necessities to at least, 1, 026 displaced people at shelters in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal.

President Jacob Zuma reportedly received a sometimes hostile reception when he visited the displaced immigrants in Chatsworth, Durban, on Saturday.

Gigaba said the people who were “agitated” during Zuma’s visit were largely Malawian nationals.

“They were protesting that their request for voluntary repatriation had been delayed. The first problem was that buses which were supposed to pick them up, organised by their embassy, had not arrived, yet those from other countries were being repatriated.”

He said the repatriation process for the displaced immigrants was being delayed because immigration officers were struggling to cope with the numbers.

Gigaba said there was no excuse for South Africans to attack foreigners, even those accused of crime.

“The reality here is that you have foreign nationals committing crime in South Africa and you also have South Africans committing crime both in South Africa and abroad. You don’t see those South Africans abroad being chased down the streets because they have committed crime in countries like Brazil and elsewhere.”

“No grievance justifies the violence that we have seen perpetrated against foreign nationals. It’s also a great concern to us that South Africans abroad have been immediately put at risk because of these activities,” said Gigaba.

He said by Sunday, more than 300 people have been arrested in relation to widespread attacks on foreign nationals and looting.

“So far, 307 suspects have been arrested in connection with attacks on foreigners and public violence across the country,” said Gigaba.

He warned people inciting violence against foreigners that the law would catch up with them.

“We want to issue a stern warning to those who lend themselves to acts of public violence. We will find you and you will be dealt with to the full might of the law, ” said Gigaba.

“You will be arrested and sentenced accordingly. We warn especially young young people, as having a criminal record can disrupt their lives.” The Citizen
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