Topnews, Pressespiegel

28. April 2015

GOVERNMENT ON PROGRESS MADE TO BRING AN END TO ATTACKS ON FOREIGN NATIONALS

“We once again unequivocally condemn the maiming and killing of our brothers and sisters from other parts of the continent. No amount of frustration or anger can justify these attacks and looting of shops.”   

To demonstrate the serious nature with which the Government views the violence against foreign nationals, President Jacob Zuma cancelled his visit to Indonesia. On 18 April, he visited displaced foreign nationals in Chatsworth to assure them of government’s support.

The President also engaged with the Umlazi community to spread the message of peace and tolerance.

In the past week, he led a stakeholder outreach programme around the country to engage communities to start a conversation within our society.

The Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo; Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba; and Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, held a media briefing on 19 April, to highlight the interventions the South African Government was implementing to bring an end to violence, looting and displacement directed at people from other countries who live in South Africa.

Provision of psycho-social services
The Department of Social Development has provided food, shelter and other necessities to more than a thousand displaced persons in shelters in both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Trauma counselling and debriefing services are being provided to individuals on site at the shelters. Specialised services to children in need of care and protection, including Early Childhood Development programmes, are being provided in Isipingo and Chatsworth.

Government is working closely with civil society to provide all possible support to the displaced as they await reintegration back into their communities.

The departments of Social Development, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Community Safety are facilitating community dialogues in areas such as Umlazi and Chatsworth to ensure a smooth reintegration process.

“We would like to thank the non-governmental organisations which continue to provide food to the displaced persons in areas like Isipingo, Chatsworth and Greenwood Park,” said Minister Gigaba.

Those who require to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling are invited to make use of the Social Development trauma counselling toll-free number: 0800 428 42.

Government continues to work closely with foreign missions in South Africa to ensure that displaced persons receive all possible support.

Perpetrators are being arrested, charged and prosecute
“We would like to take this opportunity to commend members of the law enforcement agencies who acted decisively to prevent bloodshed between two aggressive groupings in the Durban CBD. We believe that their commitment to duty has prevented injuries and even deaths that could have happened if they security forces had not acted.”

Law enforcement officers on the ground are working very hard to ensure that those who are involved in acts of violence are arrested, charged and convicted.  So far, over 300 suspects have been arrested in connections with attacks on foreigners and public violence across the country.

Government condemns fear mongering
“In the past few days, we have noted a new phenomenon of people who make use of social media to instil fear in different parts of the country.

"They have been sending out fictitious SMS and WhatsApp messages with fictitious and photo-shopped images warning people of eminent attacks. We would like to thank media who have been responsible in reporting the matter accurately without sensationalism.

"These messages appear to be orchestrated by elements bent on taking advantage of the unease in communities and instil fear among the people. Government re-iterates its resolve to stamp all acts that seek to plunge our country into anarchy.  The misinformation that has been happening in the social media should be condemned by all peace loving South Africans and foreign nationals living in our country."

Security agencies up to the task
The National Joint Operational Centre (NATJOC) continues to operate on a 24-hour basis to coordinate the government-wide response to this situation. Provincial Joint Operational Structures have also been activated to monitor and curb any potential threats across the country.

Government is constantly reviewing its security arrangements, assessing the current environment and determining what additional measures may be required. “At this point, we are satisfied that the security measures that are currently in place are sufficient to bring the situation under control.”

“Government appeals to the leaders of various sectors of our society to echo government’s call on the people to refrain from any activities that may undermine peace, security and stability of our country.”

South Africa remains committed to address some of the issues that have been raised by communities.

“As the team of Ministers appointed by the President, the priority is to restore peace and order within the country.  Additionally, as Justice Crime Prevention Security Cluster Ministers supported by the Ministers of Small Business Development, Social Development as well as Trade and Industry, we have been tasked to address the issues that seem to have caused tensions within the community. South Africa remains a country that welcomes foreign nationals who contribute to the economic growth of the country and the continent.

“To the countries that continue to invest in South Africa, we want to re-assure them that South Africa is a constitutional democracy governed by laws. Investors are welcome to do business in South Africa.

"Everything is being done to restore peace and order. Government will enforce the laws of the country and will not hesitate to act speedily and decisively on any criminal activity committed by or against a foreign national or citizen of South Africa or those found to incite violence.”

Government urges people with information on plans to cause violence or those who have witnessed acts of violence, to contact one of the operational centres, either in the relevant province or at national level:

NATJOC : 012 6409000/2/5
North West : 018 497 7458
Northern Cape : 053 8384419/375/303
Free State : 051 4126652/56
KwaZulu-Natal : 031 325 4720
Western Cape  : 021 466 0014
Eastern Cape : 040 6087401/2/3/4
Limpopo : 015 285 7600/651/615
Mpumalanga : 013 762 7071/75.

“Finally, we appreciate the overwhelming support of South Africans who have stood as true South African ambassadors and reflected the South African spirit of Ubuntu. In various parts of the country, community members have stood in defence of foreign nationals living among them.

"We have also noted messages of support, condemnation and solidarity on social media.  This provides testimony that the overwhelming majority of South Africans are against the violent attacks against our brothers and sisters from other African countries.”

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