Police in Tshwane accused of protecting immigrants and taking bribes

On Friday, police stopped the group as they tried to break into the shops, claiming there were drugs and weapons inside.

Group of protesters says they want to search foreign owned shops. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – A large group of people who tried to break into shops in the Pretoria CBD owned by non-nationals, saying they wanted to search them for drugs, have accused police of protecting immigrants and claim the officers were bribed.

On Friday, police stopped the group as they tried to break into the shops, claiming there were drugs and weapons inside.

Shop owners hid inside their businesses for hours, saying they were prepared to die defending their stock.

Foreign nationals were appealing to police while trying to clarify the accusations that they are drug lords.

The group of people were so convinced, they even asked police to search the premises.

“We’ve not found anything.”

But they were not satisfied, claiming the foreign nationals bribed the police.

“Police are coming here to collect money, they don’t arrest them. so if they’re not doing anything then we’ll handle them ourselves.”

As night fell on Friday, the shop owners refused to be escorted to a safer place, welding their gates shut-and saying they are willing to die in their property, with their stock.

DEFENDS DECISION TO APPROVE MARCH

Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane has defended the decision to authorise Friday’s anti-immigrant march in Pretoria, saying people have the right to express their views.

The police had their hands full in Atteridgeville, Marabastad, the Pretoria inner city and Sunnyside, trying to prevent clashes between citizens and non-nationals.

Despite the march explicitly being touted as being against immigrants and not anti-drug or anti-crime, Lieutenant Phahlane said it was legitimately approved.

“Our Constitution provides for people to express their views. Facts before the authorities were considered and they deemed it fit that with what was at their disposal, that the march is granted.”

He has dismissed suggestions that the march was aimed at foreigners.

“The march was about people, amongst others, that are not South African nationals involved in crime.”

Phahlane said the police will remain on high alert and deployed at hotspot areas.

[Watch] Darkey Africa pleads for peace during xenophobic tension in Pretoria

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)