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Mapisa-Nqakula: Almost 700 people arrested during attacks on foreign nationals

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said government moved quickly to restore law and order in the Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni CBDs and in KwaZulu-Natal.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said any attempt to undermine the authority of the state would be met with severe consequences, and that police would step up and maintain visibility in volatile hot spots around the country.

Leading a briefing by the government’s justice, crime prevention and security cluster of ministers at Parliament on Tuesday, Mapisa-Nqakula repeated the government’s assertion that the attacks on foreign migrants are criminal rather than xenophobic.

The briefing came just ahead of the National Assembly debating a matter of national importance; the recent incidents of femicide, public violence and looting that was put on Parliament's agenda following last week’s attacks on foreign nationals and public outrage over the rapes and murders of women and children.

Mapisa-Nqakula said government moved quickly to restore law and order in the Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni CBDs and in KwaZulu-Natal. She said nearly 700 people have so far been arrested since 1 September and face charges ranging from public violence and arson to robbery and murder.

“Two people died on Sunday bringing the total amount of fatalities to 12, 10 of which are South Africans and two are foreign nationals," she said.

Mapisa-Nqakula said 755 foreign nationals, including 228 children, were being sheltered in Katlehong.

But she insisted South Africa was not a xenophobic country and that criminals were to blame.

“Law enforcement will ensure the authority of the state is not undermined. Any attempt to undermine the authority of the state will be met with severe consequences. An attack on law enforcement authorities is an attack on the state.”

On the blockading of roads and burning of trucks, Mapisa-Nqakula also blamed “criminal elements”, saying this was threatening the economic viability of the region.

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