Diepsloot: 'We cannot accept behaviour like that' - Ramaphosa denounces foreign national ID checks

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa says demanding identification from foreign nationals in Diepsloot takes South Africa back to the apartheid way of doing things. 
  • However, he said he was happy Police Minister Bheki Cele went to the area to stabilise the area.
  • This week, a mob of people killed Zimbabwean national Mbhodazwe Nyathi.

Denouncing foreign national ID checks in tense Diepsloot, Johannesburg, President Cyril Ramaphosa said behaviour that takes the country back to the way things were done during apartheid could not be accepted.

He was addressing the media on Saturday, ahead of a presidential imbizo in Mangaung in the Free State.

"We cannot accept behaviour like that, where people are hunted down in that way and they are asked questions in that way about their own identity. ...it takes us back to the apartheid way of doing things.

"We are now in a democracy and we should be very restrained and respectful of the rights of people in our country."

On Friday, Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the area along with Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and defended the police's actions. "They have a right to stop you and the onus is on you. They take you to the police station and give you the opportunity [to get] somebody to give your documents [to the police]," they said.

Motsoaledi added that his department would deploy 25 immigration officials to the area for three months to deal with immigration issues.

READ | 'My brother was not a criminal' - relative of Zimbabwean man killed by Diepsloot mob

Despite his concerns about the ID checks, the president was pleased Cele and the police went to the area to stabilise it. 

"We should not be targeting anyone in the way that people from other countries have been targeted. As South Africans, we should always be respectful towards people from other nations, and whatever challenges we have, we should use the law enforcement channels," he said.

The area was a battlefield between South Africans and foreign nationals this week after several people were reportedly killed.  

On Wednesday night, a mob of people assaulted Zimbabwean national Mbhodazwe Nyathi and set him alight after he returned from work. The mob ran through the neighbourhood, chased people and knocked on doors, asking for ID documents. Nyathi's murder is under investigation.

According to Diepsloot police records, five murders were reported between 30 March and 3 April.

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