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SAHRC: Mkongi’s comments on foreigners could fuel xenophobic tensions

Mkongi said that 80% of the Hillbrow population were foreigners and that South Africans had surrendered their own city.

FILE: Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi addressing the media at the Hillbrow police station. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission has condemned what it calls the recent irresponsible comments by the Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi.

While addressing concerns around crime and hijacked buildings in Johannesburg on Friday, Mkongi said that 80% of the Hillbrow population were foreigners and that South Africans had surrendered their own city.

The commission’s Tseliso Thipanyane says the deputy minister's statements have the potential to fuel xenophobic tensions.

“We’re not saying undocumented migrants should be allowed in the country but we’re saying he cannot just put everybody in the same boat and say the country has been taken over by foreign nationals.”

Mkongi said he is not xenophobic.

“The hijacking of buildings here in Hillbrow is a sign of taking over power. The question of the dominance of foreign nationals in illegal trading and also in businesses is economic sabotage.”

He said South Africans fought hard for the land which was once in the hands of white people and should not just surrender it to foreigners.

“We can’t give shelter to our people because these buildings are being occupied and hijacked by people and lunatics that we don’t know.”

WATCH: Why is Hillbrow 80% occupied by foreign nationals?

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