Operation Fiela II to address social ills

Friday, January 19, 2018

The South African government says it wants to change the perception that the successful crime-busting Operation Fiela was about targeting foreign nationals rather than addressing social ills.

This as the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster prepares to launch Operation Fiela II on 23 January 2018.

The first Operation Fiela - meaning sweep clean - was launched in 2015 following the outbreak of attacks against people from other countries. To address the tensions, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) implemented a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach to crime which included all law enforcement agencies and departments.

The operations were aimed at mitigating the increased levels of lawlessness, impunity, intolerance and disregard for the rule of law that was developed in 2015.

The departments and law enforcement agencies involved included the Special Investigations Unit, South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Correctional Services and the Department of Social Development.

“During the first Operation Fiela, what emerged from our operations is that it is not about foreign nationals but it is about crime, drugs and unscrupulous employers who take advantage of foreign nationals without following labour laws. It was also about foreign nationals who reside in the country without proper documentation,” said Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting Director General Phumla Williams.

She was speaking on Friday at a media workshop to outline the plans around the integrated operation that seeks to combat crime and corruption.

The Acting DG said the successes recorded during the first operation were as a result of the collaborative work of government departments, communities, civil society organisations and the media.

“There is an appreciation that until we tackle the issue of unemployment effectively, we will always have tensions in communities. However, we say this was a success, the unethical behaviour by some employers has given us some work to do as the Department of Labour. The issues of how effective registrations at Home Affairs are has given us something to think about,” said the Acting DG.

She said the success of the operation can also be seen in the bolstering of the Home Affairs branch in Marabastad which assists foreign nationals with documents.

Advocate Pieter Durandt from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said the JCPS cluster seeks to show citizens during Operation Fiela II that they not only have rights but also responsibilities.

Spokesperson for the Police Minister Esethu Hasane dismissed the view held by some of the members of the media in attendance that Operation Fiela was discontinued, saying the work of police was ongoing.

“South African Police Services (SAPS) has these crime busting operations all the time and at times are intensified but the work of operations to uncover crime and drugs is always ongoing,” said Hasane.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is expected to launch Operation Fiela II on Tuesday, where he will outline plans for the crime busting campaign. – SAnews.gov.za

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