Police say no further incidents of violence reported in Tshwane overnight

Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane said the authorities are willing to listen to complaints of crimes by illegal immigrants.

Groups of protesters moving through the streets of Pretoria on 24 February 2017. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

PRETORIA – Police say no further incidents have been reported in Tshwane overnight after a day of sporadic of violence, damage to property, stoning of officers and looting.

The Pretoria CBD was tense on Friday evening after an anti-immigrant march from Marabastad that saw rubber bullets, stun grenades and water cannon being used to stop clashes between locals and non-nationals.

Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane said the authorities are willing to listen to complaints of crimes by illegal immigrants against South Africans but has appealed for evidence so the authorities can act.

Lieutenant Phahlane said he spoke to South Africans in Marabastad on Friday, who raised numerous complaints about crimes allegedly committed by immigrants.

But he said the allegations are often without merit and referred to the houses burnt in Pretoria West last week.

“In how many of those houses which were burnt did they find drug, because this is what we continue to be faced with, allegations, allegations and all that we’re requesting is something substantial so that the situation could be addressed.”

Phahlane appealed to the public to provide detailed information, which can be investigated.

[Watch] Violence mars xenophobic march in Pretoria

DEFENDS DECISION TO APPROVE MARCH

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.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)