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CT police vow to protect foreign nationals from threats

by Luyanda Makapela
on 07 Sep 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Any threat against people from other countries is illegal, unacceptable and will result in action by the South African Police Services, said the City of Cape Town.

In a statement released by the city on Friday, the joint position of the provincial government and the City of Cape Town comes as the police were investigating the distribution of a letter in Khayelitsha by the Zanokhanyo Retailers' Association.

The letter ordered Somali shopkeepers to close their shops between 25 August and 14 September while "all matters regarding their existence" were being discussed by "the business, political and community leadership".

The police are investigating a charge of intimidation.

"The city and provincial government officials met at the Provincial Joint Operations Centre on Friday and heard that similar threats from the business sector were made against foreign nationals in Du Noon, Kraaifontein and Grabouw.

"We reiterate the message that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, and no one has any right to victimise or threaten people on the basis of their country of origin," the statement further said.

The city appealed to the people of Khayelitsha to follow the people of Masiphumelele in how they addressed similar business challenges with regards to the Somali shopkeepers.

The city believes that dialogue and engagement is the only way forward and any threats will be met with the full might of the law.

Relocation will resume this week after last week's storm damage was repaired.

The Silwerstroomstrand safety site was closed on Friday and the remaining people at Soetwater were relocated to the Blue Waters site over the weekend.

In August, government and civil society organisations adopted a Declaration which seeks to foster an understanding of the plight of immigrants and educate foreign nationals about their rights in host countries.

The Declaration, emerging from the Social Dialogue on the Promotion of Tolerance through Diversity, was adopted by faith-based organisations, academics, politicians and community representatives including foreign nationals as well as government departments.

It aims to implement strategic and practical measures to fight the attacks against foreign nationals as well as ensure that an environment exists where strong relations and trust can be forged between the immigrant communities and locals in their respective communities.

The Declaration was signed at the end of the two-day Dialogue hosted by Home Affairs Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The gathering provided a platform for delegates to deliberate on the recent attacks on people from other countries and identify preventative measures that will contribute towards the peaceful co-existence of all who live in South Africa. - BuaNews


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