Ses’khona members’ violence and xenophobic attacks condemned

Dan Plato,

Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:

I strongly condemn any and all forms of violence, threats of xenophobic attacks and criminality that happened between Ses’khona members and foreign nationals yesterday.

The Ses’khona leadership’s lack of action against transgressing members, lack of general control over their members, as well as their silence over threats from their members to attack and loot foreign owned shopkeepers and their shops in informal settlements is a disgrace. The Ses’khona leadership’s weak attempts to call for calm, after the violence was already perpetrated by their members, as well as their attempts to legitimise these actions is a slap in the face of the victims of yesterday’s looting and violence.

Ses’khona spokesman, Sithembele Majova, is quoted in the media today saying: “When people got back to the townships, they were so angry. We don’t encourage attacks on shops but the Somalis did a very bad thing by attacking that woman. They were the main instigators.”

No one, not an individual or group, is above the law.

Ses’khona’s history of public incitement of violence and encouragement of looting cannot be viewed separate from the events that transpired yesterday. I call on their leadership to assist police in identifying those responsible for violence, looting and criminal acts in order for the perpetrators to face the consequences of their unlawful actions. Failing to do so and also failing to take action against members responsible for this violence can only mean that Ses’khona as a group condones these violent and criminal acts.

Media reports on the death of a 19-year-old girl due to the violence which continued as a result of earlier clashes between Ses’khona and foreign nationals are still being investigated by the SAPS and must not be used to incite further violence from either group.

I also call on foreign nationals in South Africa to respect the rule of law and report any and all threats of violence, acts of violence or incidents of crime to their nearest police station. They must not take the law into their own hands. If they receive unsatisfactory response or service from the South African Police Service (SAPS), they can report it to the Department of Community Safety’s Policing Complaints directorate by SMS (“Report” to 35395), phone (021 483 4332), or email (policing.complaints@westerncape.gov.za ).

The SAPS have a constitutional mandate to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order and to protect and secure inhabitants of the Republic and their property. I thank the SAPS for their presence and appropriate actions yesterday in communities where violence broke out. I call on them to ensure that all perpetrators involved in yesterday’s violence are brought to book.

We all have individual and shared responsibilities to create safer environments for ourselves and those around us. It is critical that Ses’khona adopts a zero tolerance approach when it comes to their members breaking the law and committing violent acts against other citizens.