Xenophobia : Army Deployed In South African Townships

Pretoria – Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has deployed the army to Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, after a Zimbabwean couple was attacked and shot last night.

Briefing the media earlier on Tuesday, Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said the soldiers will be working with the police. According to the Minister, the Defence Force soldiers will also be deployed in KwaZulu-Natal, where incidents of violence directed at foreign nationals took place.

The Minister was accompanied by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and other government officials.

“We are claiming back the authority of the state,” she said.

She said that the deployment of the army does not mean that soldiers are taking over from the police.

“We cannot allow people to do as they want,” she said.

On Saturday, Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole was attacked and murdered in Alexandra during a spate of violence directed at foreign nationals.

Four men have been arrested for the murder. They appeared at the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court this morning. Their case was postponed to 4 May for bail application.

The situation in Alexandra is tense and police are still monitoring.

Police have begun a manhunt for those involved in the attack of the Zimbabwean couple.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula appealed to the Alexandra community to assist police with information that will lead to arrest of the perpetrators.

On Sunday, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba warned that law enforcement agencies will do whatever it takes to restore law and order in the communities affected by violence against foreign nationals.

To date, more than 300 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attacks on foreign nationals and inciting violence across the country. Officials say seven people, three of whom are South African, have died as a result of the incidents.

A 24-hour call centre has been established by the National Joint Operational Centre (NATJOC) and remains accessible in the event that further attacks occur.

Shelters have been set up to accommodate displaced foreign nationals and basic amenities such as water, sanitation and healthcare are being provided.

- SAnews.gov.za