Western Cape ‘calm’ after violence

The Western Cape was calm during the day on Monday following Sunday’s outbreak of xenophobic violence, a police spokesperson said.

Police and troops would however remain out in force overnight, Captain Frederick van Wyk said.

He said no incidents were reported during the day.

Earlier on Monday Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and his defence colleague Lindiwe Sisulu flew down to the province from Pretoria to get firsthand reports from senior law enforcement officers.

Excuse for criminal behaviour
Mthethwa’s spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said it had been discovered that criminals were using xenophobia as an excuse to create “anarchy and anxiety”.


“Any criminality disguised as xenophobia won’t be tolerated,” he said.

Sisulu said in a statement the army would do all it could to help the police and vowed that anybody who targeted foreigners would be “dealt with”.

“Opportunistic criminals must know that we will deal with them harshly, there is no way we will allow them to spread fear and crime.”

The police’s Van Wyk said there were “sporadic incidents of looting” on Sunday night at shops belonging to foreigners on the Cape Flats, and in Wellington, Paarl, Franschhoek and Klapmuts.

Seven men, aged between 19 and 30, had been arrested in the Nyanga area and were charged with public violence, he said.

Refuge
The spokesperson for provincial disaster management Daniella Ebenezer said 70 foreigners had sought refuge on Sunday night at the Mbekweni police station in Paarl and 22 at Wellington.

There were smaller numbers at police stations in Franschhoek and on the Cape Flats.

She said there were “sporadic” attacks on shops on Saturday in the region, and “some incidents of looting” on Sunday.

No-one had been seriously injured.

She said according to reports from police, spaza shops and containers used as shops were “damaged” in Mbekweni, Paarl East, Wellington and Nyanga on Sunday.

The province’s community development workers had been providing information to authorities on what was happening on the ground.

Mediators deployed to communities last week would continue their efforts.

“Provincial and local government are on standby to provide humanitarian support, should this be required,” she said.

There have been rumours that xenophobic violence was likely in the aftermath of the 2010 Fifa World Cup and that foreigners were fleeing the Western Cape in anticipation of attacks.

Mthethwa last week angrily dismissed the speculation. He said an investigation had shown that those leaving were foreign migrant workers returning home.

In an apparent reference to Western Cape premier Helen Zille, he accused politicians who had raised the spectre of violence of being “peddlers of fear”.

In a statement, the Western Cape ANC urged communities to fight xenophobia in the province and to demonstrate a “spirit of humanity” beyond the soccer World Wup. –Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Indians in South Africa, a historical excerpt

In the book, The Indian Africans, academic Kiru Naidoo explores the society of colonial Natal in the late 1800s to early 1900

Covid-19 info lags as cases shoot up

Vital information apps and websites are outdated as cases begin to mushroom, especially near the coast, just in time for the December holidays

Between dark and light was Maradona

The life of Diego Armando Maradona, who died this week, will always remind us that the smell of shit is as important as the perfume of flowers, writes Niren Tolsi

A colossus with feet of clay

South Africa is disproportionately targeted by cybercriminals. Digital attacks call for digital solutions and technology is a the prime weapon in this fight

The president, the preacher and the great escape

Malawi’s new president was furious after Shepherd Bushiri’s dramatic disappearance from South Africa

Artificially dimming the sun may reduce the risk of future droughts in Cape Town

But it can't solve the climate crisis, say a team of scientists
Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Frank Chikane on the rainbow where colours never...

Reverend Frank Chikane has just completed six years as the chairperson of the Kagiso Trust. He speaks about corruption, his children’s views and how churches can be mobilised

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

More top stories

Shabnim Ismail bowls her way into the record books Down...

The night before Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) final, fiery South African fast bowler Shabnim Ismail lay awake pondering how...

Hawks make arrest in matric maths paper leak

Themba Daniel Shikwambana, who works at a printing company, was granted bail and is due to return to court in January

Andile Lungisa: Early parole for the house of truth

Disgraced Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa calls for a change of leadership in the ANC immediately after being released on parole

War of words at Zondo commission: ‘Grow up Mr Gordhan,...

The cross-examination of the public enterprises minister by Tom Moyane’s lawyers at the state capture inquiry went on well into overtime on Monday evening
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…