‘Diepsloot issue is beyond immigration, it’s about criminality’- Motsoaledi

'We have brought 25 immigration officers, who will deal with issues of immigration accordance with South African law.'

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi emphasised the need to combat crime and illegality in Diepsloot, following tensions in the area which boiled over this week amid anti-crime protests by residents.

This after residents accused the police of failing to adequately deal with violent crimes in the township and also said illegal immigration was one of the sources of the increasing crime rate in Diepsloot.

Motsoaledi was joined by Minister of Police Bheki Cele and Gauteng Premier David Makhura to address the community of Diepsloot following the recent killings of five South Africans and one foreign national.

After four and a half hours of both the ministers addressing the Diepsloot residents in a closed meeting at the Diepsloot Community Centre, the ministers said the community revealed that crime was their biggest problem and not undocumented foreigners.

Bheki - Diepsloot
Police Minister Bheki Cele ( Second fromL), Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and new National Commissioner of Police Geeral Fannie Masemola. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

“The situation goes beyond that, it’s not an issue of documentation but it’s criminality,” he said as he addressed the community outside the community centre.

“It’s not easy for a woman to be raped at gunpoint in front of their husband and children and they say they believe it’s foreign nationals who have been doing that.”

Motsoaledi also stated the seriousness and horrors of the crimes in Diepsloot and said that one of their solutions to the problems highlighted by the community was deploying 25 immigration officials in the area for the next three months.

“We at Home Affairs have brought 25 immigration officers, we will leave them for three months so that they may deal with issues of immigration in accordance with South African law,” Motsoaledi said.

According to the community members, the criminals torment them daily and they fear for their lives. Motsoaledi revealed that one of the members voiced out how they always have to hide their children under the bed in order to protect them.

“Every morning we go to work, you always have to be careful as you can get robbed or killed especially if you know them, as they don’t want you to report them,” one of the residents who did not want to be named said.

However, Cele said the community previously demanded more police patrol vehicles and for more police officials to patrol around the area, and also for undocumented immigrants to be deported, and for the killers to be arrested.

“A team of investigators have been sent to assist with the criminal activities and the backlog in the police station,” he added.

This follows the brutal killing Elvis Nyathi, who was set alight by an angry mob searching for illegal foreign nationals in the community on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, Cele also condemned reports that the recent police raids were witch-hunts against foreign nationals and said they were doing the raids according to the constitution.

“The first assessment will be after three months, however, we will implement structures to stabilise the situation,” Cele concluded.

ALSO READ: Diepsloot protests: Diepsloot calm – for now – but police on high alert

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