S. Africans warned against inciting violence against foreign nationals

Parliament responded to clashes between police and what some claim to be foreign small business owners in the Johannesburg CBD.

The South African Police Service and Johannesburg Metro Police Department clashed with protesters in the central Johannesburg on Thursday, 1 August 2019. Picture: IntelligenceBureauSA/Facebook

CAPE TOWN - The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation has called on South Africans to exercise caution when reacting to reports about foreign nationals allegedly fighting with police in Johannesburg.

Committee chairperson Tandi Mahambehlala said the temptation to resort to an “us against them” approach when dealing with foreigners should be rejected by South Africans.

Mahambehlala was responding to clashes between police and what some claim to be foreign small business owners in the Johannesburg CBD.

She warned that any response to that incident should not incite xenophobia.

“We’re saying this must be dealt with decisively. This cannot be allowed. In the midst of a country fighting crime, we cannot have foreign nationals behaving like that. But equally we must not incite violence. We must be careful.”

She said the committee supported the work of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on the Border Management Authority Bill and believes it should be expedited in order to address challenges with immigration.