All calm in Kya Sands

Kya Sands informal settlement, where 16 people were attacked earlier this week, was quiet on Thursday, Gauteng police said.

Brigadier Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said police had remained at the northern Johannesburg settlement, which bordered an industrial area, for a second night and that no violence was reported.

Mariemuthoo said police commanders would meet at 10am on Thursday to get an update on the settlement.

At least 16 people, mostly foreigners, had been attacked over the past two days and about 12 people were arrested in connection with these crimes.

The police are loathe to describe the incidents as xenophobic, but the robbery and looting of shops owned by foreigners have galvanised NGOs to raise awareness of xenophobia to avoid a repeat of an outbreak of violence in 2008.

Gauteng’s community safety minister, Khabisi Mosunkutu, was quoted on Tuesday as saying that xenophobia was not an issue in the attacks.

In Parliament on Wednesday, South African Human Rights Commissioner Lawrence Mushwana spoke of the difficulties the commission faced in trying to get responses from the government on a report it had compiled on the 2008 attacks, and how to prevent the attacks from happening again.

He said some government departments had responded by saying it had nothing to do with them.

“We compile some of the reports. We make recommendations. We bring them here.
We write. But no one answers,” said Mushwana.

He continued: “Until we know what is causing [this], we will not be able to solve it ... Is it crime? Is it xenophobia? What is the thinking behind it—they are here to take our jobs? Is it socio-economic?” he asked.—Sapa

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