Operation Fiela not targeted at foreign nationals

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pretoria - Government has rejected claims that Operation Fiela – the joint raids being carried out by the army, police and Home Affairs officials - is targeted at foreign nationals living in South Africa.

Operation Fiela, which means ‘sweep’ in Sesotho, was launched last month as 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.

It has resulted in the arrest of over 800 people in various raids in trouble spots such as Thabazimbi in Limpopo, Thembelihle in the south of Johannesburg, Isipingo in KwaZulu-Natal and Jeppestown in Johannesburg.

However, the raids have been criticised by non-government organisations, who claim they are targeted at people from other countries.

“We would like to categorically and emphatically state that these claims are far from the truth,” Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) spokesperson Phumla Williams said on Sunday.

She stressed that the aim of the operation is to ensure strict compliance with the various laws and regulations governing the country.

“Law abiding South Africans and foreign nationals have no reason whatsoever to fear Operation Fiela - Reclaim.  This is an operation aimed at making our country safer to enable all people who live in our country to enjoy their freedoms in an environment that is free from crime.”

Williams addressed what she labelled as false claims surrounding the abuse of rights during the search and seizure operation conducted at the Methodist Church in Johannesburg.

“We have been reassured by the team that conducted the search and seizure operation that it was conducted in a professional manner. We therefore reject any claims that there were violations of rights during the operation.”

She said extra care was taken to ensure that children detained with their parents were taken to the temporary shelter in Mayfair. This was to ensure that they await repatriation in a conducive environment.

Operation Fiela, according to Williams, will be intensified and expanded in the weeks and months to come to ensure that all concerns raised by South Africans to members of the IMC on migration are addressed.

“We reiterate our commitment to make sure that all people in our country are and feel safe,” she said. - SAnews.gov.za