150 arrested during raids in Thembelihle

Police say the operation is meant to root out illegal immigrants and people selling and consuming drugs.

FILE: 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.

JOHANNESBURG - Police say more than 150 people have now been arrested in the Thembelihle informal settlement near Lenasia south of Johannesburg.

A raid by the police, army, Johannesburg Metro Police Department and home affairs officials is still underway and two illegal guns have also been recovered.

Police say the operation is meant to root out illegal immigrants and people selling and consuming drugs.

Spokesperson Kay Makhubela explains says they will continue with the raids.

"Most are arrested for possession of dagga, dealing in dagga, possession of soft porn, possession of unlicensed firearms and illegal immigrants. As long as we've got we've got addresses to visit where there are criminal activities will still be around and continue doing our operation."

The law enforcement agencies are out in full force and surrounded the settlement from around 4am before moving in.

Meanwhile, the Thembelihle Crisis Committee has welcomed the raid but has warned that it could fuel xenophobic attacks.

Committee Chairperson, Bhayiza Miya, says, "We are not against anything about the raid. But if they're bringing the raids because of the xenophobic attacks, we might have a problem."

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