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HRC calls on authorities to act ahead of march against illegal immigrants

A group calling themselves the Mamelodi Concerned Residents have planned a march to the Home Affairs Department on Friday.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) logo. Picture: www.sahrc.org.za

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG – The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has called on authorities to put measures in place ahead of Friday's march against illegal immigrants in Tshwane to prevent the situation escalating to xenophobic violence.

A group calling themselves the Mamelodi Concerned Residents have planned a march to the Home Affairs Department in protest against government allowing immigrants into the country.

The Tshwane Metro Police Department has granted permission for the march.

The SAHRC’s Gushwell Brooks says police need to be prepared if violence breaks out.

“There has been electronic media that has been doing the rounds, whether it be SMSes or WhatsApp messages, from foreign nationals and locals threatening confrontation. We are concerned and therefore call on the authorities to make sure that they're on scene and present.”

LISTEN: Rosettenville: police accused of 'protecting' drug dealers

GIGABA ADDRESSES CONCERNS

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has confirmed the march against foreign nationals will be held on Friday.

Gigaba has warned if the march turns violent, it will be met by stringent action.

The minister has appealed to participants to abide by the law.

"Disgruntlement raised by communities is about competition for jobs, access to economic opportunities and alleged criminal acclivities. These include drug peddling, prostitution and hijacking of houses. I have appealed with protest organisers to express themselves responsibly."

Gigaba says a number of illegal foreigners have been arrested at a Pretoria business and their employers have also been taken into custody.

Dozens of shops and properties owned by foreigners have been targeted in Atteridgeville, Mamelodi, Pretoria West and Rosettenville this month.

(Edited by Neo Koza and Shimoney Regter)