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Cele: We’re focusing on criminality regardless of who commits it

Police Minister Bheki Cele also dismissed calls for the deployment of the army in Gauteng as was done in the Western Cape to curb gang violence.

Police Minister Bheki Cele addresses community members in Jeppestown following unrest on 2 September 2019. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Bheki Cele said police were not investigating xenophobia in some parts of the country but were focusing on acts of criminality.

Cele was responding to questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon.

MPs quizzed him on a range of issues from gangs in the Western Cape to the flare-up of xenophobia-linked violence and looting in parts of Gauteng.

The question and answer session come at a time when authorities battle to contain unrest and looting in parts of the country.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi asked Cele about the recent raids on foreign-owned shops before the violence broke out.

“Don’t you think it’s SAPS who started those xenophobic attacks in Gauteng by harassing our foreign nationals who are our African brothers and sisters?”

In response, Cele said the SAPS were not investigating any crimes linked to xenophobia.

“Unfortunately, as the police, we’re not looking at xenophobia, we’re looking at criminality. It doesn’t matter who commits it if you break the laws of the country whether South African of from another country – we’re going to act as such on you.”

Cele also dismissed calls for the deployment of the army in Gauteng as was done in the Western Cape to curb gang violence.