Xenophobia: Crime-prevention ops planned for provinces

This is part of a plan to prevent a recurrence of xenophobic violence in South Africa.

FILE: The lunch queue at a displacement camp where around 1,000 people are being housed following xenophobic attacks. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Members of Parliament (MPs) have been told intensive crime-prevention operations are planned for all provinces, focusing on hotspots where there's been violence against immigrants.

This is part of a plan to prevent a recurrence of the recent outbreak of xenophobic violence that has left several people dead and thousands displaced.

Major general Charl Annandale of the South African Police Service (SAPS) said the attacks seemed to be abating.

"I must just say for the past 10 days we've had very few and isolated incidents relating to attacks on foreign nationals."

Annandale described to MPs how about 20 government departments were working together to quell the violence and to prevent its recurrence.

"Every province is expected to do joint operations per week. So that will give us a minimum of 18 operations, involving all of the departments that I've mentioned and specifically the Department of Home Affairs."

According to the Department of Home Affairs there are just under 890,000 migrants in South Africa legally while permits of just over 330,000 have expired.

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Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says the army will remain on the ground in the wake of xenophobic violence to support police operations.

Government has launched Operation Fiela-Reclaim in response to the unrest.

As part of the initiative, police have raided several hostels in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

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Minister Mapisa-Nqakula says the SAPS was right to ask for the army's assistance.

Mapisa-Nqakula and several other ministers have been providing feedback today on government's response to the unrest which erupted in KwaZulu Natal a few weeks ago and spread to parts of Gauteng.

Government says Operation Fiela-Reclaim has resulted in 265 arrests for public violence, while 423 suspects wanted in connection with other crimes have also been traced.

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal police on Monday said there were no reports of xenophobic violence in the region over the long weekend.

In the last four weeks the province has been plagued with attacks on foreign nationals, leaving a total of seven people dead, including three South Africans.

During the week, various government departments, faith-based and civic organisations have held prayer meetings and condemned the violence.