Operation Fiela: Jeppestown oversight visit in the spotlight

Those probing the xenophobic attacks say cops didn’t properly prepare for an oversight visit in Jeppestown.

FILE: Men lie flat on the floor while police search their rooms for illegal weapons, stolen goods and drugs during an overnight raid at the Jeppestown hostel on 21 April 2015. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A Parliamentary ad-hoc committee investigating the latest flare up of xenophobic violence has expressed disappointment that local police bosses in the Jeppestown area did not properly prepare for the oversight visit.

The committee singled out the station commander at the Jeppes Police Station and the Hillbrow cluster commander.

Co-chair of the committee Ruth Bengu told the meeting, held at the police station, that they are not pleased with those in charge because they failed to give them proper in-depth feedback about the violence against foreigners in April.

"The general doesn't go to the meat of what we would want to hear."

WATCH: Operation Fiela: Army raids Jeppestown hostel.

She said the committee was sent to Johannesburg to investigate the underlying causes of the violence and to help find a lasting solution.

"Because when you call it a xenophobic attack, it means you have made a conclusion. Anyone who was attacked, the reason behind was hatred and I don't think that South Africans harbour hatred."

Jeppestown became one of the hotspots for law enforcement officials and saw the first implementation of Operation Fiela, where hostels were searched overnight by police and soldiers.

Earlier this week, reports emerged that soldiers could be deployed domestically to assist police with their anti-crime operations until March next year.

The Defence Ministry confirmed it received a request from the South African Police Service (SAPS) in this regard.

In April, President Jacob Zuma authorised the deployment of some 338 soldiers until the end of June this year, following an outbreak of xenophobic violence.

They have been assisting police officers with Operation Fiela.

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

The ministry's Siphiwe Dlamini said, "It is the police that request the SANDF and then the request is taken and processed through up until the president gives the authority or not."

The president has to inform Parliament in writing of any decision to deploy troops.