News / South Africa

Vicky Abraham
2 minute read
7 Mar 2017
5:41 am

Rise in xenophobic attacks ‘concerning’ – NGO

Vicky Abraham

Sonke Gender Justice's Bafana Khumalo says to control xenophobic attacks, justice system and police need to consider this a hate crime.

A group of Mamelodi residents during xenophobic clashes in the Pretoria CBD on the 24th February 2017. Picture: Neil McCartney

A total of 11 140 people have been displaced due to xenophobic attacks in the country during the past year and Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) has expressed concern about the rise in such crimes.

Sonke’s director of strategic partnership, Bafana Khumalo, said Xenowatch has discovered more than 66 deaths, 116 assaults and said that 11 140 people were displaced due to xenophobic attacks since January 2015.

Khumalo said 60 foreign nationals and SA citizens were victimised in recent xenophobic cases in Rosettenville, Pretoria West, Atteridgeville, Lotus Gardens and Mamelodi. He said there was a major concern about the rise in xenophobic violence, adding there were fewer interventions from government to minimise the harm to foreign nationals.

Recent remarks by President Jacob Zuma and Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba were reckless, “fuelling such criminality”.

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Sonke appealed to government and civil society to increase investment to curb the violence and put long-term measures in place to prevent and address violence and hostility, particularly through the promotion of social cohesion and fostering a culture of respect for human rights and the law.

Khumalo said to control xenophobic attacks, the justice system and police needed to consider this a hate crime. Government and civil society must assist in terms of social integration.

Khumalo said crimes involving drug trafficking could not only be associated with migrants, because South Africans were also involved.

Deporting immigrants was not a solution to the limitation of crimes because even if they left the country, the problem would remain, unless the police took action, he said. It was disturbing police were believed to be in cahoots with criminals.

Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said that with the help of Rosettenville residents, 42 suspects had recently been arrested.

Peters said members of the public were encouraged to note the registration numbers of vehicles driven by police officers who may by implicated in crime, and to report these anonymously.

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