Organisation calls for reflection of Operation Fiela

LHR condemned Operation Fiela for a case of a Nigerian man jailed for 2 months without being charged.

FILE: A gang member is detained during an Operation Fiela raid. The raids were strategic interventions into areas with high rates of gang violence, guns, drugs and counterfeit goods. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for Human Rights says the case of a Nigerian man held in jail for two and a half months without being charged should make South Africans reflect on the police's Operation Fiela.

The Eastern Cape man has been awarded R750,000 by a court to compensate him for his ordeal.

According to reports the judge presiding over the case described it as the worst treatment she has seen in post-apartheid South Africa.

Operation Fiela was launched in April after a spate of xenophobic attacks and saw thousands of people arrested, including hundreds of illegal immigrants.

Lawyers for Human Right's Patricia Erasmus says while this case is shocking it's not unique.

"We have seen many people detained unlawfully."

Meanwhile, the Gauteng government said on Friday Operation Fiela will now be rolled out in Mamelodi following three days of violence in the area.

The Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco) said five people were shot and wounded during an attack on one of its buses this morning but police have downplayed the injuries.

AutoPax buses were also pelted with stones as they tried to operate in the township.

Makhura said taxi violence is now a priority crime and government will make sure those responsible for attacks will be arrested.


The High Court in Pretoria said last month government can continue with Operation Fiela despite concerns about how it's being carried out.

Government asked the High Court to strike off the roll an urgent application to deal with the validity of Operation Fiela.

Lawyers for Human Rights launched an urgent application arguing that authorities are targeting foreigners sometimes searching their homes without warrants.

LHR's David Cote said they will monitor the situation and if necessary approach another court.