Pretoria – Additional law enforcement officers have been deployed in KwaZulu-Natal to deal with attacks on foreign nationals.
“Thus far, at least 48 suspects have been apprehended since the past weekend,” Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said.
Minister Mapisa-Nqakula on Tuesday briefed the media as the chairperson of the Justice, Crime and Security (JCPS) Cluster on security and stability issues related to attacks on foreign nationals, vandalising of national monuments and illegal land invasions.
The recent spate of attacks on foreign nationals has reportedly left five people dead and thousands displaced in Durban’s townships.
The violence started in Isipingo and has since spread to Chatsworth, Umlazi and other parts of Durban after locals said the foreign nationals should go back to their home countries.
“The recent spate of attacks against foreign nationals in some parts of KwaZulu-Natal province must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all South Africans,” the Minister said.
She said South Africa’s Constitution protects the rights of all people living within the country, including foreign nationals.
She said government would do everything within the law to ensure the safety of all citizens and foreign nationals, irrespective of their status.
“President Jacob Zuma has assigned the Ministers of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba, Police Nathi Nhleko and State Security David Mahlobo to work with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government to arrest the violence that has broken out in some Durban residential areas.
“The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has established an Inter-Departmental Task Team to coordinate the response,” Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said.
A provincial JOINTS Priority Committee has also been activated to coordinate government departments in responding to these incidents of violence against foreign nationals in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
“All district disaster management centres have been placed on high alert and a 24-hour call centre has been established,” Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said.
She said shelters have been set up to accommodate displaced foreign nationals and basic amenities such as water, sanitation and healthcare.
Government is also working closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) as well as non-government organisations to provide food, psycho-social and other support to those affected.
“As South Africans, we should refuse to be part of the attacks on innocent people, merely because they happen to be foreigners.
“Those who are in the country illegally should be reported to the police and they will be returned to their countries of origin in a lawful manner,” Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said.
She said government will take action against South Africans who attack foreign nationals and all foreign nationals who commit crime in the country.
“The process of reintegrating those who were displaced back into their communities has begun. Community engagements are being conducted through the communities in dialogue programmes, community safety forums, ward committees and through community development workers,” Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said. – SAnews.gov.za