Anti-immigrant attacks spur security crackdown in SA

Police arrest over 600 people.
Police Minister Bheki Cele vows to crack the whip on violence caused by anti-immigrant riots in Joburg. Image: GCIS

South African authorities are cracking down on the perpetrators of a series of xenophobic attacks that left at least 12 people dead, Police Minister Bheki Cele said.

The police arrested 639 people so far, Cele told reporters Monday in Johannesburg, the nation’s economic hub where unrest flared again a day earlier. He conceded there was “anti-foreign sentiment” within the country.

The clashes began after a South African taxi driver was allegedly shot dead August 27 by a suspected Nigerian drug dealer in the capital, Pretoria. Scores of foreign-owned shops were looted and torched in the ensuing violence. The attacks spread to Johannesburg last week, leaving 10 people dead and more than 50 shops and several vehicles destroyed.

After a brief lull, the violence resumed in Johannesburg on Sunday. Police used stun grenades and rubber bullets to battle protesters armed with knives and sticks seeking to drive African migrants out of the city. At least two more people died. Calm had been restored by Monday morning, according to the police.

South Africa has Africa’s most-industrialised economy and attracts many residents of poorer nations on the continent who relocate in search of a better life. Their increased prevalence in several poor areas has sparked resentment among locals, who see them as competitors for jobs, business opportunities and affordable housing.

Sporadic attacks

The country has seen sporadic attacks on migrants, including Nigerians and Sudanese, the worst of which occurred in 2008 when about 60 people were killed and more than 50 000 forced from their homes. Another seven people died in similar attacks in 2015.

The latest outbreak of violence has outraged other African governments and sparked retaliatory attacks on South African-linked business in Nigeria including MTN, the continent’s biggest mobile operator.

Read: Nigerian ruling party demands takeover of South African firms

Four MTN franchise stores in Nigeria, which are owned by Nigerians, were damaged and the Johannesburg-based company is helping rebuild them, Chief Executive Officer Rob Shuter told reporters Monday. MTN is concerned about the long-term effect the xenophobic attacks were having on investor sentiment, he said.

Nigeria will begin evacuating some of its citizens who’ve asked to leave South Africa to escape the violence, Punch newspaper reported. At least 400 Nigerians registered with the Nigerian diplomatic mission in South Africa to return home, the Lagos-based newspaper reported, citing Nigeria’s consul-general in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama.

The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation hasn’t been notified of the evacuation plans, spokesman Clayson Monyela said by phone from Pretoria. Calls to the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria seeking comment weren’t answered.

President Cyril Ramaphosa condemned the latest round of attacks and called on law-enforcement agencies to deal firmly with those responsible.

The “government will not allow sporadic lawlessness and violence to disrupt the safety and livelihoods of millions of South Africans and the majority of foreign nationals in our country who are law-abiding,” he said in a statement. “Lawlessness is a crime against our prosperity and stability as a nation, and those who want to upset our public order must expect to face the gravest impact of the law.”

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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For as long as the government refuses to listen to the people on the ground this is going to happen again. People are saying control our borders and the government refuses.

…and hopefully all of those arrested, will be released again sometime into the future, after the SAPS “processed” them as a formality.

Quote: “Lawlessness is a crime against our prosperity and stability as a nation” ….YES, THIS WE ALL CAN AGREE WITH.

But then WHY the poor record of prosecution of people caught stealing electric cables, and railway tracks (putting the functioning of railway signals, power supply to homes/industries, etc at risk. This is a crime against the nation as a whole = punishment must be in line with that national TREASON. Nothing short of act of SABOTAGE.)

Same issue, those stealing cellphone tower back-up batteries = must be treated as national sabotage.

Lawlessness during service delivery protests, whereby roads are made inaccessible, is in fact a crime against the country as a whole / act of economic sabotage.

(We don’t need a foreign country to invade us militarily, whereby critical infrastructure is aimed to be destroyed/sabotaged during a “1st strike” scenario….no, our own citizens/voters does that to the country. We don’t need a defence force to deter external threats, as the real destructive force exist within our borders. As voters.)

Now that the world’s eyes are upon SA’s law enforcement agencies, let us show the world (incl. rest of Africa) how useless we really are.

Just listened to the NPA boss this morning.

Lots of excuses and still the same as six months ago. I don’t think anything will change and with a dysfunctional criminal justice system this country will just go one way. The courts are to blame as well. How long to hear a simple case like the Malema “Land grab” case? It is now in its fifth year. So our dear Chief Justice is not as innocent as he would like people to think. He is the manager.

Citizens have to look on how the elite rape the country and get away with it.

So far not a single high profile politician prosecuted. This woman keeps complaining about “constraints”. Too few prosecutors. etc. etc. Its a lie because they should have been able to prosecute at least one elite politician by now. It’s not as though they have no prosecutors whatsoever.

People that was supposed to be prosecuted as a result of the TRC have not even been prosecuted for decades now. Not a single one.

It is clear what they are doing and even us “simple” people can see it.

They must not be surprised if this causes the ANC to have a little “Spring” moment soon.

People are getting very sick and tired of this.

“…South Africa has Africa’s most-industrialised economy and attracts many residents of poorer nations on the continent…”

I wonder who built this highly industrialized economy?

or is that an awkward question?

End of comments.





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