Police make 136 arrests amid xenophobic tensions
Kgomotso Phahlane says the situation in Pretoria is now calm and under control, although police will maintain high visibility.
PRETORIA - Acting National Police Commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane says 136 arrests have been made over the last 24 hours related to tensions between foreign nationals and South Africans in Gauteng.
He was speaking at a briefing at the Pretoria West police training college on Friday afternoon where he confirmed 136 arrests have been made in the capital.
Phahlane says the group from Mamelodi was peaceful, however a group from Atteridgeville was violent, adding that those inciting violence will be prosecuted.
“Although the group from Mamelodi protested peacefully early this morning, a group of people from Atteridgeville blocked roads, burnt tyres and also threw stones. They also without authority to do so, marched at the CBD, where they were dispersed after there was a confrontation with another group – apparently consisting of non-South Africans.”
But Phahlane says the situation is now calm and under control.
He says despite pleas from government, there was looting and reports of violence.
#XenoMarch Phahlane: visibility will continue. When faced with a challenge like this we intensify operations. BB— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) February 24, 2017
As police say the situation in central Pretoria is now under control, President Jacob Zuma insists Friday's march in the CBD was about crime and not about xenophobia.
The president was speaking in the capital on Friday afternoon on the sidelines of the launch of a government initiative.
He also described the demonstration as well organised, despite the fact there was an outbreak of violence in the morning.
“I’ve been told people leading the march are saying it’s not an anti-foreigners march, it is anti-crime. Those involved in crime happen to be amongst them, those who come from other countries.”
At the same time, the Mamelodi Concerned Residents say while their anti-immigrant march was almost derailed, they are pleased they were able to submit their memoranda.
The group handed over lists of their grievances against illegal immigrants to the departments of home affairs and labour and the police before retreating to Mamelodi.