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Minister appeals for public to support Operation Fiela

Over 1,000 illegal immigrants and nearly 2,000 South Africans have been arrested since the start of operation.

FILE: Over 1,000 illegal immigrants and nearly 2,000 South Africans have been arrested since the start of operation. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on Sunday appealed to the public to support government efforts in monitoring crimes and incidents of xenophobic violence across the country.

An inter-ministerial committee announced that it has managed to stabilise tensions between local communities and foreign nationals.

The committee said over 1,000 illegal immigrants and nearly 2,000 South Africans have been arrested since the start of Operation Fiela.

Nhleko said these statistics should be proof enough that the operation is not targeting foreign nationals.

"It's an overall response on the question of how do we deal with blowing out some hotspots and some high-end criminal activities in the country. So we urge our people to support Operation Fiela so that we ensure a safe and secure environment in our country."

Last week, it was reported that more than 800 undocumented migrants have

been arrested across South Africa in just three weeks under Operation

Fiela, a series of raids launched after last month's xenophobic

violence, which was centered on the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and

Gauteng.

The deportation of more than 200 people arrested during an inner city raid at the Central Methodist Church and other buildings in the Johannesburg CBD last week was halted for two weeks after a court settlement between Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and the state.

The court has ordered police to allow the LHR to consult with those arrested, to inquire about claims of human rights abuse and check if legitimate asylum seekers are being detained.

(Edited Gadeeja Abbas)