Sanco condemns 'dodgy business owners' after Diepsloot attacks

Police reported unrest at Diepsloot in May after Somali businessperson Bishar Isaack was arrested for allegedly shooting dead two men believed to be Zimbabweans. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Police reported unrest at Diepsloot in May after Somali businessperson Bishar Isaack was arrested for allegedly shooting dead two men believed to be Zimbabweans. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

" ... This has mostly taken the trend of mainly targeting the African foreign nationals, with a rider of criminality; African-on-African violence," Sanco deputy president Lemias Mashile said in a statement on Sanco's national working committee meeting in Johannesburg on Sunday.

"This should not go unchallenged and [should be] condemned at all levels," he said.

"It is our resolve that this will be with us forever if we don't confront the real source of the problem. We are convinced that the proper integration of foreign nationals into our communities must be a managed process."

To this extent, he said, stakeholders like community policing forums, the police, unions, the government, business and civil society structures had to be involved.

This approach would ensure that business did not exploit foreign employees, as they would be organised, Mashile said.

'Dodgy business owners'
"Dodgy business owners in sectors like construction do use the police to arrest foreign nationals just before their paydays," said Mashile.

He said foreigners adhered to the country's laws in terms of business practises and the carrying of weapons.

"We must differentiate between crime-related killings and attacks on foreign nationals.

"For instance, the incident of Diepsloot was ignited by a criminal act and got out of hand due to apparent tensions within the communities," he said.

Last month, police reported unrest at Diepsloot after Somali businessperson, Bishar Isaack, was arrested for allegedly shooting dead two men believed to be Zimbabweans, outside his shop after they allegedly tried to rob him.

Afterwards, residents stoned the shop and looted it and other businesses in the area.

Police arrested 45 people for public violence, housebreaking and possession of unlicensed firearms.

Deaths at initiation schools
"Sanco calls upon our communities to refrain from taking the law into their own hands and allow police to do their work," said Mashile.

"Sanco structures are already working tirelessly to negate this low intensity warfare against African foreign nationals," he said.

At the working committee meeting, Sanco also discussed the recent deaths at initiation schools, and said these were a direct result of profit-driven institutions which missed the purpose of initiation.

"No one has the right to kill our children including these commercialised bogus circumcision outlets.
They must therefore be condemned and those involved must be arrested and charged with murder," Mashile said.

On the issue of e-tolls, the national working committee said it supported the project, in particular the principle of payment for services by those who benefited from them.

It noted that the government had taken all measures to ensure the toll fees are affordable, and advised those who could not afford them, to apply for the appropriate exemptions. – Sapa

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