Premium Journalist
3 minute read
24 Apr 2015
9:15 am

North West ready to curb xenophobic attacks


The North West province is ready to deal with xenophobic violence, if it breaks out, police said on Friday.

Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said a Provincial Joint Operational Centre (PROVJOC) had been established to curb incidents of xenophobic attacks. He said the  PROVJOC was made up of various government departments including, amongst others, social development, home affairs, defence, traffic, disaster management and health.

“The POVJOC is a multi-disciplinary approach, all incidents of xenophobia are being monitored and addressed throughout the province, looking into all possible needs like accommodation for victims and other emergency services,” he said.

“In addition all stability issues are also monitored and addressed like the protection of all statues and monuments, land invasions, community protests and load shedding.”

Foreign-owned shops were looted during service delivery protests in different parts of North West.

He said since the establishment of the PROVJOC on Tuesday, positive results have been noted. “As an example of the good co-operation between the police, department of home affairs and the community of Damonsville near Brits, seven suspects were arrested for cable theft. The same community have brought to the attention of the police and Home Affairs incidents which were being investigated and could uncover other criminal activities.”

Mokgwabone said through constant meetings and information sharing, xenophobic attacks and crime could be prevented and addressed.

“South Africa is a signatory to the Geneva Protocol on Refugees and is committed to protect all foreign nationals in the country.”

“Government condemns violent attacks on foreign nationals in the strongest terms. The police will enforce the laws of the country and will not hesitate to act against criminal activity or those found to incite violence,” he said.

Attacks on foreign nationals erupted in KwaZulu-Natal three weeks ago and has since spread to Gauteng. At least seven people have been killed and over 300 people arrested.

Mozambican man, Emmanuel Sithole was stabbed to death in Alexander north of Johannesburg on Saturday. Four men have been arrested in connection with his murder, this was after pictures of him being attacked and stabbed were published in the media.

Government has deployed the army to curb the violence in volatile areas.

The ANC in North West has called on people of the province to refrain from participating on incidents of xenophobia. Party chairman Supra Mahumapelo was expected to lead an anti-xenophobia march in the capital Mahikeng on Friday.

Several marches against xenophobia have been planned over the long weekend, the mayor of Ramotshere Moiloa, Africa Thale would lead a march in Zeerust on Saturday. On Monday, ward councillor Malebo Phadi would lead a march in Luka near Rustenburg.

North West and Pretoria march against xenophobia

Thousands of people are expected to be part of marches against xenophobia in Pretoria and in Mahikeng, North West on Friday.

The Pretoria march would be led by City of Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and an inter-ministerial task team established by President Jacob Zuma to help quell the attacks on foreign nationals.

The march would start at the city hall at 10 am and proceed to the Union Buildings. In the North West, premier Supra Mahumapelo and his provincial executive are expected to lead the march from Mmabatho stadium.

A march in Johannesburg on Thursday attracted thousands who carried placards spreading messages against xenophobia through the CBD. The march ended in Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.

In May 2008, attacks on foreign nationals left 62 people dead, 21 of those killed were South African citizens.