Home Affairs Minister calls for calm before planned march against foreigners in Tshwane

Home Affairs Minister calls for calm before planned march against foreigners in Tshwane

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has met organisers of a contentious planned march in Tshwane against foreign nationals planned for Friday and appealed for for calm.

He said issues raised by the organisers‚ Mamelodi Concerned Residents‚ were around competition for jobs‚ access to economic opportunities and alleged criminal activities involving foreign nationals‚ including accusations of drug-peddling and prostitution.

Dozens of foreign-owned shops and properties have been attacked in Atteridgeville‚ Mamelodi and Pretoria West in the past week‚ raising concerns of an outbreak of xenophobic violence.

The minister said the government was deeply concerned about possible unrest which might result in loss of life and damage to property. This was why the cabinet had expressed full support to his department as well as to the Justice‚ Crime Prevention and Security cluster to move speedily in resolving issues to the satisfaction of communities.

“Government responded speedily to the latest outbreak of violence. We have directed all security officials to be visible in communities and to objectively deal with criminality‚ regardless of whether it is committed by a South African or a foreign national‚” the minister said.

He said as was the case in other parts of the world‚ immigration had taken centre stage. Immigration had proven to be an emotive and contentious issue globally.

“It has been used to divide citizens‚ with the view that it poses a serious threat and socio-economic challenges for receiving countries. South Africa is not unique in this regard. Many countries are wrestling with anti-immigrant sentiments. Its manifestations may be seen in some of the issues affecting communities‚ and are discernible also in the issues exploited to perpetrate criminal activities‚” he said in Cape Town on Thursday. “We must respond in a humane and lawful manner‚ taking into cognisance the genuine frustrations of communities‚” he said.

Gigaba said‚ there would be no gain from xenophobic violence‚ pointing out that the opportunistic who took part in violence eroded the human face the nation had struggled hard to acquire.

“While a more measured approach may not make me the most popular politician‚ I believe it is the right thing to do‚” he said.

Gigaba called for compliance with the constitution and other laws of the country‚ by citizens and foreign nationals.

He said his department had “prioritised documentation of persons in South Africa‚ and deportation of those who are undocumented”.

The minister said 33 339 illegal immigrants had been deported in the 2015/16 financial year.

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Femi Oshin
Femi Oshin 185 posts

Femi Oshin is a publisher at Nigeriansinsouthafrica.ca.za and Producer /Presenter of Agogo Ayo on Africa Magic Yoruba.

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