Xenophobia is not going to happen, says minister

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has dismissed reports of xenophobic

attacks in some parts of the country saying it was just a “squall of bad omen”

becoming louder.

Mthethwa said: “Xenophobia is not going to happen. I call on people

and the media not to be part of peddling this hysteria of a possible outbreak.

There is no such systematic thing as xenophobia in the country.”

He said these were “dangerous rumours” and risked being

self-fulfilling.

Police commissioner General Bheki Cele said that a week before the

World Cup tournament, about 11 buses carrying Zimbabwean nationals had entered

the country, but media did not report that.

Cele said: “No one reported on that but now they are focusing on

those leaving.”

There had been incidents linked to xenophobic attacks in the

Western Cape on Sunday night where a number of foreign-owned spaza shops and

container shops were burned and looted.

Some vandalism and attempted looting continued during the day on

Monday in Khayelitsha, where police helped Somali shop owners to remove their

goods.

Mthethwa, who visited the area on Monday, emphasised that they were

not dismissing reports of xenophobic attacks but that investigations conducted

revealed that xenophobia was not the case, but rather “criminality disguised as

xenophobia”.

“We don’t take people’s lives for granted,” Mthethwa said.

Cele said a number of meetings had taken place in communities where

incidents were reported and that feedback received from community members was

that they had no intention of driving out foreign nationals.

He singled out “criminal elements”, aged 13 to 25, who terrorised

people, adding that a dozen of them had been arrested.


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