Makhura threatens to bring in army if Gauteng unrest continues

Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni hit by attacks on foreign owned shops

Makhura threatens to bring in army if Gauteng unrest continues

3 September 2019

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has warned that he will not hesitate to deploy the army to areas in the province plagued by xenophobic attacks and looting.

Makhura made the comments in Alexandra where shops were looted and some were set alight overnight.

He added that, if necessary, he will consult with President Cyril Ramaphosa and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for the deployment of soldiers to hotspots.

Makhura said the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni municipalities have been affected by the attacks on, looting of and damage to foreign-owned shops.

"We want to tell our people that police reinforcements are happening. We will not hesitate to call on the president and defence minister to reinforce the police. There is a xenophobic sentiment where other people are calling for foreigners to leave. There is no country in the world without foreigners," he said.

Makhura said he adjourned proceedings in the Gauteng legislature, where all members of the house and political parties agreed that they would visit areas affected by the unrest.

"The country is dealing with illegal and undocumented foreigners. We are promising more reinforcements of border security. We want to ensure that the province is calm. The issue of illegal immigrants can be dealt with without violence. Everyone behind these crimes must be arrested.

"We are calling for calm in the province. Actions of looting can't be justified by unemployment and criminal activities. The State will not compensate all shop owners who have lost their goods," he said.

Makhura said many foreigners were in the country for good reasons and that those who were involved in crime should be dealt with.

"We can't criminalise all foreign nationals and everybody must live by the rules of the country, whether local or foreigner nationals," he said.

Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela said officers were coping.

Seven people were arrested in Alexandra for public violence and more than 100 people were arrested across the province since the unrest started on Sunday.

He said they identified the ringleader behind the looting in Alexandra and that an arrest was imminent.