by Ndumiso Mlilo
PRETORIA South Africa (Xinhua) -- The
South African Police Service (SAPS) said Friday they have
arrested 156 people since last night following the resurgence of
While addressing the media
in Pretoria, Acting Police National Commissioner Khomotso
Phahlane said, South Africans started burning tyres around 5:00
a.m. on Friday in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria calling for
the foreigners to leave the country.
This was followed by the march by a group calling itself "Mamelodi
They said the foreigners are responsible for criminal
activities in the country.
Lieutenant General Phahlane said the march had been approved
and they were monitoring it. He said the situation is calm and
the police are in control.
He said, "This march follows periodic violence and looting
over the past week.
"The law enforcement acted speedily in arresting 156 people
since last night.
"SAPS have exercised maximum restraint and they have also
"We caution those engaging in violence that law enforcement
will not hesitate to act."
He said the police exercised maximum restraint during the
march with some marchers from Atteridgeville throwing stones.
Phahlane said they had to use proportional force to diffuse
He warned that those committing crime will be arrested.
He encouraged people not to spread fake news.
Some have been
spreading news on social media about impending attacks on
Phahlane said they will beef up their operations and maintain
visibility in the advent of xenophobia.
The Portfolio Committee on Police called on South Africans on
Friday not to take law into their own hands but to follow the
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police,
Francois Beukman said while people have a right to raise their
concerns, they must act within the confines of the law.
He said, "It is the Constitutional duty of the South African
Police Service (SAPS) to protect and secure the inhabitants of
South Africa and their property.
"As such, the Committee will support the necessary steps the
SAPS will undertake to maintain law and order."
Beukman said some occurrences in Pretoria show that the law
was being broken and called on the police to arrest those found
on the wrong side of the law.
He said, "The Constitution places an obligation on all South
Africans to respect and live in harmony with all communities,
whether they are foreign or local."
Mamelodi Concerned Residents marched Friday through the
streets of Pretoria attacking foreigners telling them to return
to their countries accusing them of dealing in drugs and
Some foreigners also grouped and vowed to defend themselves
in the Pretoria City Centre. Police had to fire rubber bullets
to disperse the two groups.
Journalists were also injured by the rubber bullets when the
The march was criticized by many in the country.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation said the government, civil
society and all stake holders should tackle xenophobia, and
Pretoria should not have permitted the anti-foreigners march.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatanga said:
"The measures of who belongs and who doesn’t that we see
being thrown around so recklessly are deeply problematic.
"I am beginning to feel ‘othered’, as my father’s family has
its roots in Lesotho and my mother’s in Botswana."
The Congress of South Africans Trade Unions (Cosatu) in
Gauteng also criticized the anti-foreigner sentiments. Cosatu
said the march against foreigners have a regime change agenda,
and xenophobia is as a result of socio-economic challenges like
unemployment facing the country.
Amos Monyela, Cosatu provincial chairperson said:
"We call all the Gauteng citizens to desist from these
heinous actions against our African brothers and sisters.
"We want to remind all citizens that during the liberation
struggle our forebears found protection outside South Africa
until political freedom was attained."
Cosatu called on the police to take act fast and arrest those
Cosatu also encouraged government to have "sober immigration
policy" and address the unemployment in the country.
Zuma urges South Africans
not to blame all criminal activities on foreigners
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
South African President Jacob Zuma on
Friday appealed to the country’s citizens not to blame all
criminal activities on non-nationals.
"Many citizens of other countries living in South Africa are
law abiding and contribute to the economy of the country
positively," Zuma said amid a new wave of xenophobic violence
that is gripping some townships.
It is wrong to brandish all non-nationals as drug dealers or
human traffickers, Zuma noted.
"Let us isolate those who commit such crimes and work with
government to have them arrested, without stereotyping and
causing harm to innocent people," he added.
However, Zuma said there are real concerns by South Africans
in many areas about serious crimes that are destabilizing
Also on Friday, a march took place in Pretoria West against
illegal immigrants following violence in the area, where some
people were reported to be stopping vehicles from leaving the
In other areas, ambulances are prevented from fetching sick
people to take them to hospital and delivery vans have to be
escorted by police when entering the townships.
"Our people cannot continue to live in fear like this," said
The latest developments have prompted Zuma to champion the
fight against crime in order to promote safer and more stable
communities, in light of several complaints from communities
about drug trafficking and abuse and other serious crimes which
cause fear among many residents in the country, his office said.
The situation has become more serious in light of current
threats of violence and acts of intimidation and destruction of
property directed at non-nationals living in South Africa, Zuma
Residents in some communities blame non-nationals for the
escalating crimes especially drug trafficking and rising
Violence against foreigners erupted in Pretoria West and
nearby Rosettenville earlier this month.
There is also simmering tension that has been reported in
other areas including the dissemination of hate speech and
threatening messages via social media.
Zuma strongly condemned the acts of violence and called upon
citizens and non-nationals to exercise restraint, unite against
crime and work with the authorities to bring perpetrators of
crime to book.
He said the government has also noted the complaints of South
Africans about companies that employ illegal immigrants.
Zuma reiterated that the Department of Home Affairs will be
cracking down on all employers who continue with this practice,
which is dangerous as it pits locals against non-nationals.
The president reaffirmed his assertion that South Africans
are not xenophobic and that the problems they are raising with
respect to crime will be attended to.
He called from unity among citizens and non-nationals to
"The threats and counter-threats on social media must stop.
"All must exercise restraint, respect the laws of the land
and work together to fight crime and build safer communities,"
the president said.
South Africa targets unethical businesses that employ