Parliament to intervene in 'ongoing violent tensions' against foreign nationals

Chaos hit Johannesburg as looters targeted foreign owned shops, looting and torching them.
Chaos hit Johannesburg as looters targeted foreign owned shops, looting and torching them.

Parliament's presiding officers – speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo – will call on the relevant Parliamentary oversight committees to "determine a parliamentary intervention on the ongoing violent tensions in the country".

They have also called on law enforcement agencies to act against illegal immigrants.

According to a statement from Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo, Modise and Masondo noted "with serious concern the ongoing sporadic violence characterised by tensions between South African communities and foreign nationals in certain parts of the country".

READ:'Enough is enough', says Nigerian govt over violent attacks in South Africa

This after last week's violence in Tshwane spilt over to Johannesburg on Monday.

"The violence, which is driven by communities on both sides of the tension, have entailed disturbing trends of lawlessness, assaults against our law enforcement officers, retaliatory attacks and looting of shops, amongst others. All these acts of criminality are an antithesis to the rule of law and democracy, and threatens our country’s culture of tolerance, peace and coexistence," reads the statement.

Modise and Masondo have appealed for calm amongst the affected communities and urged law enforcement agencies "to spare no effort in stopping the mayhem and restoring peace and stability".

"The law enforcement agencies must act with decisiveness and boldness in ensuring that any lawbreaker is brought to book regardless of nationality," reads the statement.

They have also asked leaders from various sectors to help provide leadership to quell the disorder.

"Much has been said about our country’s excessively porous borders and the influx of undocumented foreign nationals," reads the statement.

"While South Africa continues to be a welcoming nation to foreign nationals, illegal immigrants make the state’s Constitutional obligation, which is to prevent, combat and investigate crime; maintain public order; and to protect and secure all those who live within its borders, difficult to fulfill."

Modise and Masondo urged the relevant authorities and law enforcement agencies to step up their efforts "to curb this phenomenon and take appropriate steps regarding those living illegally in the country".

"An urgent meeting between the Presiding Officers and the relevant oversight committees of Parliament will be called to determine a parliamentary intervention on the ongoing violent tensions in the country."

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