SA remains a stable country: Minister Radebe

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pretoria – Minister for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, is satisfied that through the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Migration, government has stabilised the recent situation in the country and further loss of life has been prevented. 

It has been just over a month since incidents of violence broke out in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. 

“The work of the IMC, in dealing with all the underlying causes of the tensions between communities and the foreign national, and the prompt activation of the NATJOINTS, as well as the deployment of the security forces to volatile areas, has served as a strong deterrent to potential perpetrators,” Minister Radebe said on Sunday.

Updating the media on the progress of the work done by the IMC, he said security agencies continue to work around the clock to protect both foreign nationals and South African citizens against any attacks. 

“We are maintaining law and order around the country. We believe the attacks against foreign nationals have been stopped because of the work done by government and civil society organisations in mobilising communities to denounce the violence, and ensure peace and harmony amongst all who reside in our country,” the Minister said.

He said a total of 3 914 people were arrested for various crimes during an operation aimed at addressing security challenges in all provinces.

“It needs to be noted that while 1 650 undocumented migrants were arrested, 2 264 South African citizens were arrested in connection with various crimes,” said Minister Radebe.

He said those that were arrested were held for crimes such as human trafficking, possession of explosives, drug possession, murder, robbery, rape as well as the possession of illegal firearms, housebreaking, and theft as part of the Operation Fiela-Reclaim.

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.

 “As a country, we are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of all those who live and work here and we want to ensure that both South Africans, and the foreign nationals who live in our midst, are and feel safe,” Minister Radebe said.

He reiterated that the operation was not targeting law abiding citizens or law abiding foreign nationals.

“Government will never authorise actions that are contrary to our constitution and the laws of the country,” Minister Radebe said.

He said the operations are intelligence driven and will continue to target areas, buildings and spaces which are known to be frequented by criminals.

In the next weeks and months, government will accelerate its efforts to take back public buildings that have been hijacked either by foreign nationals or South Africans.

Efforts will also be made to rid townships and villages of drugs such as nyaope, wunga and tik.

“We are determined to take back the communities from criminals and to re-assert the authority of the state,” Minister Radebe said.

He said the IMC is continuing with its work to ensure that the underlying socio-economic issues that gave rise to tensions between South Africans and foreign nationals are being dealt with.

“Issues of migration management have been the sole responsibility of the Department of Home Affairs…As we move forward, we will be including all of government in developing a new integrated migration policy to address our challenges in a collaborative and integrated manner,” Minister Radebe said.

The process will ensure effective participation of stakeholders such as civil society and foreign national organisations in managing migration.

Government welcomes the skills that foreign nationals bring and the contribution they make to the economy.

“We are however concerned about those, both South African and foreigners, who illegally run businesses that are in some cases unlicensed, as well as those who engage in collusion, evade taxes, import counterfeit goods and conduct illegal business practices to the detriment of our economy,” he said.

As part of Operation Fiela government will ensure that informal businesses are properly licensed and local government by-laws are effectively implemented.

The total number of persons who have been repatriated voluntarily was 5 645.

“The Department of Social Development continues to work closely with other relevant department, as well as civil society organisations to provide support to displaced foreign nationals,” Minister Radebe said. –