Officers ready to move if xenophobic attacks spread – Phiyega

Suspended police commissioner Riah Phiyega. Image source: Christine Vermooten

Suspended police commissioner Riah Phiyega. Image source: Christine Vermooten

Police were ready and on standby to deal with xenophobic attacks should they move to other provinces, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the portfolio committee on police in Parliament, Phiyega said so far there have been no reports of the level of violence experienced in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) spilling over into other provinces. “You cannot stop the spread of those [attacks]. They may happen but we will also respond,” Phiyega said.

“At this point in time the pressure and the incidents are largely in KZN.”
Phiyega said just over 800 officers have been deployed to KwaZulu Natal to deal with clashes between locals and foreigners. They include reinforcements from other provinces.

“We would mobiise other public order policing resources from other environments to give support, depending o the level of threat…,” she said.
Phiyega believed police were winning in their attempts to stabilise areas worst affected by the violence.

“We’ve moved from Isiphingo to Chatsworth to all othe areas, to the city, and this thing is migrating. But in all instances, we manage when it occurs to restore stability and to secure the lives of those that are seeking our protection,” she said.
Responding to threats by some foreign nationals that they would arm themselves and engage in guerrilla warfare to defend themselves against attackers, Phiyega said this would not be tolerated.

“We take serious issues that are being mentioned around…the people who are saying they are ready to take up arms and fight. It is our duty as police to ensure that does not happen and this is what we’ve done in Durban. We’ll do it elsewhere,” she said.

“That is regarded as criminality so as police where we find such circumstances we will again do what is expected of us to remove those weapons.”

READ MORE:Foreigners closing shops in Joburg CBD


today in print