JUSTICE, CRIME PREVENTION AND SECURITY (JCPS) CLUSTER MEDIA BRIEFING STATEMENT
The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) notes with deep concern the unfolding incidents of violence and lawlessness in some parts of our country. We want to assert government’s position that any lawlessness will not be tolerated. Government will not hesitate to enforce the laws of the country and we will continue to act speedily and decisively on any criminal activity in South Africa under any guise.
SPORADIC ATTACKS AGAINST FOREIGN NATIONALS
The recent spate of attacks against foreign nationals in some parts of the Kwa-Zulu Natal province must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all South Africans. The Constitution of our country protects the rights of all people living within the country, South Africans and foreigners alike; Government will do everything within the law to ensure safety of all citizens and foreign nationals irrespective of their status.
President Jacob Zuma has assigned the Ministers of Home Affairs (Mr Malusi Gigaba), Police (Mr Nathi Nhleko) and State Security (Mr David Mahlobo) to work with the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Provincial Government to arrest the violence that has broken out in some Durban residential areas. The KZN Provincial Government has established an Inter-Departmental Task Team to coordinate the response.
A Provincial JOINTS Priority Committee has been activated to coordinate government departments in responding to these incidences of violence against foreign nationals in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Additional law enforcement officers have been mobilised from around the country and deployed to the affected areas to enforce the law and prevent further attacks. Thus far, at least 48 suspects have been apprehended since the past weekend.. All district disaster management centres have been placed on high-alert and a 24-hour call centre has been established. Shelters have been set-up to accommodate displaced foreign nationals and basic amenities such as water, sanitation, and healthcare are being provided.
Government is working closely with the UNHCR, UNICEF as well as non-governmental organisations to provide food, psycho-social and other support to those affected. The process of reintegrating those who were displaced back into their communities has begun. Community engagements are being conducted through the Communities in Dialogue programme, Community Safety Forums, Ward Committees, and through Community Development Workers, amongst others.
We would like to remind the people of South Africa that our country is a signatory to various international protocols and obligations, such as the Geneva Protocol on Refugees, which promotes human rights, protect the rights of refugees. Accordingly, we reiterate the call made by President Zuma for South Africans to operate within the law. As South Africans, we should refuse to be part of the attacks on innocent people, merely because they happen to be foreigners. Those who are in the country illegally should be reported to the police and they will be returned to their countries of origin in a lawful manner.
Whilst government is going to be taking resolute action against South Africans who attack foreign nationals, we are equally determined to take action against all foreign nationals who commit crime in our country. The possession of unlicensed firearms by foreign nationals and South Africans is a matter of serious concern to our Cluster. Each and every person working and living in the country must obey the law. We have established dedicated court rooms and appointed dedicated prosecutors as well as foreign language interpreters to ensure that justice is meted out swiftly in these cases.
We all know that it is incorrect to argue, as some amongst us do, that crime is committed mainly by non-South Africans. Even if we suspect or have evidence that some people are engaged in crime, we should work with our law enforcement agencies so that these criminals are arrested. This applies equally to South Africans and foreigners because a criminal is a criminal, irrespective of nationality and should be made to face the might of the law. Indeed if some foreigners are involved in criminal activities, we cannot mete out collective punishment to all foreigners because of the criminal activities deeds of bad few individuals.
Ms Nikelwa Tengimfene,
Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster Supervisor
Cell: 082 574 5495