Saps to continue anti-xenophobic operations

The Saps briefed Parliament on steps being taken to deal with attacks on immigrants.

Police and the army raided the Madala hostel in Alexandra just before midnight on 22 April 2015. The move comes in a bid to quell xenophobic violence. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The police have reiterated they will continue with operations to prevent further attacks on foreigners until next month.

The South African Police Services (Saps) head of specialised operations, Charl Annandale, was briefing Parliament's Home Affairs Committee on steps being taken to deal with attacks on immigrants and to prevent any recurrence.

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.

Annandale said, "In the lifespan of the committee, chairperson, that will be dependent in terms of the situation. We will ensure that it's totally stabilised. We will ensure that we implement all of our operations. We have a target date in the middle of May."

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

Annandale 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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Hundreds of Malawian nationals affected by the xenophobic unrest were repatriated yesterday.

Doctors Without Borders Emi MacLean said around 550 Malawians were deported from three displacement camps in KwaZulu-Natal.

"We are seeing the people who are left behind in a bit of a state of limbo with an uncertain clarity of what the finish line would actually be. There are often people who are refugees from Congo or Burundi who can't be repatriated to their home countries.