Zuma: Army to stay at xenophobia hotspots

SANDF members were deployed to hotspots after xenophobic violence broke out in parts of JHB & KZN last month.

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.

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma has told Parliament the army will remain on the ground until the end of June in the wake of xenophobic violence in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) were deployed almost two weeks ago to hot spots after immigrants in two provinces came under attack from locals.

Many fled their homes and sought shelter at temporary camps during scenes reminiscent of the xenophobic violence that gripped the country in 2008.

Young Malawian men sit inside their tent in the Isipingo camp on 25 April 2015, which has become a temporary home for people displaced by xenophobic violence in Durban. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

Zuma notified Parliament of the decision to send in the army in a letter addressed to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete on 23 April.

He says 338 members of the SANDF will assist police to maintain law and order in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and any other area as the need arises.

He says the soldiers will be on the ground until the 30 June, at an estimated cost of more than R4,2 million.

Since their deployment, soldiers have been assisting police in 'Operation Fiela' which means to 'sweep' in Sotho, aimed at ridding the country of illegal activities.

Raids on hostels have culminated in numerous arrests for a range of crimes.

The attacks left seven people dead.

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