HOME AFFAIRS TO DEAL WITH ATTACKS ON FOREIGNERS

BuaNews, 20 March 2008

PLEASE NOTE: Readers wishing to reproduce and reference this article
should contact the editors of the BuaNews for permission


The Department of Home Affairs on Wednesday warned that individuals who are still fueling the continuous spate of violent attacks on foreigners would be dealt with. This follows recent brutal and xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in Atteridgeville, where a Somali national was allegedly shot and killed. Speaking to BuaNews on Thursday, Home Affairs Acting Director of External Communications, Mantshele wa ga Tau, said the department condemned attacks on foreigners. "People who are violently attacking foreign nationals should actually understand that they are engaging in criminal activities and they should expect the law to take its course," he said. The department's observation according to Mr Tau was that it was only a selected few who were fueling xenophobic and brutal attacks on foreigners. "Some of the community members are offering shelter to the victims of xenophobic attacks and those who are involving themselves in this evil acts should be dealt with accordingly," he said. It was alleged that on 18 March six unidentified men went to shopkeeper Noor Ali's store in Saulsiville, demanded cash and shot him in the head. Mr Ali, a Somali national is alleged to have died on the scene. In a separate incident in Attiredgeville, angry residents on their way back from handing over a memorandum to the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality office in Atteridgeville police station, allegedly destroyed the businesses and belongings of foreign nationals. In the recent attacks in Atteridgeville, two foreign nationals were killed, while several others were injured. Earlier this year, in Soshanguve violence broke out between local residents and foreign nationals, after residents accused the foreigners of criminal activities in the area. The department reiterated that the inappropriate behavior will never be tolerated and has to be deployed unequivocally. Last month, about 300 foreigners were forced to move out from their respective homes after residents of the Itireleng informal settlement next to Laudium turned against them. "Such action will never be condoned in a country that upholds human rights for every individual residing in the country. Xenophobic attacks cannot be tolerated and are denounced," he said. According to Mr Tau, the department is currently facilitating meetings with the relevant stakeholders in communities where violent attacks on foreigners appear to be rife with a view of finding a lasting solution. The relevant stakeholders include the South African Police Service, the affected municipalities and the concerned members of the community.