Operation Fiela leads to 889 arrests

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pretoria - Government’s Operation Fiela, which aims to crack down on crime and restore order in areas hit by the recent violence against foreign nationals, has led to a series of seizures and 889 arrests in several provinces.

A total of 278 people have been arrested in KwaZulu-Natal, 414 in Gauteng, 29 in the Free State, 24 in the Western Cape, 10 in the Northern Cape, nine in North West and 125 in the Eastern Cape since the start of the operation late last month.

According to the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS), the arrests were for various offences.

Of the 889 arrested, 13 were arrested for drug related crimes, 13 for assault, four for murder, two for unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

NATJOINTS believes that these arrests will go a long way in ensuring safer communities free from drugs because safety of everyone is a priority.

A total of 745 people were arrested for being in the country without documentation.

“These individuals will be deported and handed over to officials in their respective countries,” chairperson of the NATJOINTS, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, said on Monday.

Operation Fiela, which means ‘sweep’ in Sesotho, is a multidisciplinary interdepartmental strategy aimed at ridding the country of illegal weapons, drug dens, prostitution rings, undocumented migrants, human trafficking, hijacked and condemned buildings and general lawlessness.

The increased visibility of security forces has thus far resulted in calm in areas known for violence such as Thabazimbi in Limpopo, Thembelihle in the south of Johannesburg and Isipingo in KwaZulu-Natal.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is the lead agency in the operation and is supported by the provincial and municipality traffic departments and all the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) member departments.

The IMC on Migration was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to deal with the underlying causes of the tensions between communities and foreign nationals.

NATJOINTS says it is pleased with the response from community members, who tipped off law enforcement officers about a number of criminal activities.

Mawela encouraged other community members to do the same as well as to live in peace and harmony with fellow Africans.

“Our intelligence services continue to monitor cyberspace for comments that incite violence against foreign nationals. People making such comments must know we are coming for them,” Mawela warned. - SAnews.gov.za