Police increase visibility ahead of anti-immigrant march

Dozens of houses business and properties belonging to immigrants have been attacked or looted in recent weeks.

FILE: Foreigners staying in Pretoria West seen stranded following looting and vandalism of houses and police at the scene. Picture: Supplied.

PRETORIA - Gauteng police say they have increased their visibility in response to xenophobic violence in parts of Tshwane and have warned protesters planning to take part in an anti-immigrant march on Friday to obey the law.

A group calling itself Mamelodi Concerned Residents is marching to the Home Affairs Department in the Pretoria CBD to protest against foreigners.

While the Tshwane metro police initially rejected their application, they have now granted the group permission to march.

Dozens of houses business and properties belonging to immigrants have been attacked or looted in recent weeks after the occupants were accused of running brothels or drug dens.

The police’s Mathapelo Peters says officers will closely monitor the march on Friday.

“We will act harshly against anyone found to have been involved in organised and or individual criminal acts such as inciting violence, business robberies, arson, looting, public violence, possession of or dealing in drugs and prostitution.”

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has also appealed for calm.

“I have met and appealed to protest organisers to express themselves responsibly.”

Meanwhile, foreign shop owners in the affected areas have started packing up their stock in anticipation of violence.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)