Government engages taxi industry on attacks on foreign nationals

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pretoria – South Africa will do everything in its power to make sure that perpetrators of attacks on foreign nationals are brought to book, says Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.

Minister Peters visited taxi ranks in Marabastad and Bosman in Pretoria on Wednesday. The visit was part of the outreach programme currently taking place countrywide.

The week will see Ministers and Deputy Ministers interacting with communities on the country’s migration policy and promoting peaceful co-existence with foreign nationals.

Minister Peters said the taxi industry is a key strategic partner to convey messages to condemn attacks on foreign nationals.

“The taxi industry transports 15 million people and as they drive through the country and borders to other parts of the Continent, they can be the [voice] to spread the message about South Africa and [say] that those criminals who are stealing, looting and killing our people will be dealt with harshly,” Minister Peters said.

The Minister told a crowd of commuters, taxi drivers and foreign nationals that government is not going to tolerate murder, theft and other atrocities that are being committed, irrespective of whether a person is a South African or foreign national.

“Not in our name is this thing going to happen. We want to convey the message that was conveyed by the President that South Africa is a peaceful country and we want to live in peace with our neighbours.

“We know we’ve got a big immigrant community in our country and it is important to ensure that we educate them to have the necessary papers and make sure that they can live in harmony with the people of South Africa,” the Minister said.

She said South Africa has the National Development Plan, which speaks to the type of country government wants to have by 2030. Equally so, Africa has a plan called Agenda 2063. These two plans, the Minister said, are intended to make sure that the problems of unemployment, poverty and inequality are eradicated.

“… We can develop our continent … so that people with skills can [get] jobs and those who are entrepreneurs can get involved in entrepreneurship,” the Minister said.

Foreign nationals have been integrated successfully in many communities over the years. At the same time, concerns have been raised by citizens including reports of increased numbers of illegal immigrants, the alleged takeover of many small businesses by foreign nationals in townships as well as perceptions that foreign nationals commit crimes in the country including selling drugs and human trafficking.

Government is engaging communities to make them aware that their issues are being attended to and also to correct some of these wrong perceptions in order to promote a better understanding and cohesion among communities.

Government is also sending out a strong message that violence will never be tolerated and that communities should isolate the criminal elements, who are opportunistically taking advantage of the grievances that exist in communities for their own agendas. –