Operation Fiela not targeted at foreign nationals: Cabinet

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pretoria - Cabinet has reiterated that Operation Fiela/Reclaim 2015 is not targeted at foreign nationals but at the criminality within the country as unmasked through a series of consultations with communities.

“As a country that prides itself with having the best and the most liberal constitution in the world, we have taken a centre stage on human rights issues, as such we cannot authorize an operation that will violate the human rights of any individuals or groups,” said Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams.

Operation Fiela is a multidisciplinary operation by various state entities to ensure strict compliance with the various laws and regulations governing society.

The operation aims to deal with issues of criminality, including illegal weapons, drug dens, prostitution rings and other illegal activities.

The operation, which intensifies the fight against crime, also assists to promote and create a safer and more secure South Africa.

Addressing the media during a post Cabinet briefing in Cape Town, Williams maintained that Operation Fiela was not driven by an interest in targeting foreign nationals.

She explained that Operation Fiela was kick started following government consultations where President Jacob Zuma engaged with all stakeholders, including civil society representatives, business representatives, church leaders, traditional leaders, as well as foreign national representatives.

In addition to the consultations, a number of community engagements were also held in various areas, where all members of the executive were dispatched in all communities. The engagements saw about 77 events being held in one week, trying to establish what exactly had triggered the attacks.

“Out of those consultations, one of the things that consistently came across was the criminality. People raised with government that we have a challenge with drugs and some of the youngsters involved in this criminality are hooked on nyaope,” Williams said.

During the consultations, Williams added that members of the community also gave pointers to government on where children are buying the drugs, hence the Operation is targeted in certain areas.

“These areas that keep being pointed might be having a lot of foreign nationals, but there are also South Africans who are living in these areas, who were also arrested and found with weapons and drugs,” she said.

Williams said that there is no plan to stop Operation Fiela, adding that government will continue to do the raids for as long as they are required.

“We want to tackle a number of underlying issues the Inter-Ministerial Committee is looking at." - SAnews.gov.za