South Africa’s Police Minister Bheki Cele on Sunday cautioned residents of Alexandra, a township in the Johannesburg Metropolitan area, against blaming foreign nationals for crime in the area.
Cele and senior police officials were in the township on Sunday, after at least six community members were shot dead in separate incidents of crime, on Thursday night.
During a community meeting held at a local stadium, some community members accused foreign nationals of fueling crime in the area.
Tshepiso Makwela, one of the several residents from the township who believe that foreign nationals are the main drivers of crime in the area and in the rest of the country, said:
If you can go out right now in Alex, on each and every single corner, there’s someone selling drugs.
And when you find the person supplying the kid, it’s always a foreign national.
So these people are doing a lot of harm, instead of a lot of good.
However, Cele denied the claim, saying available data suggests otherwise. He said:
We’ve got 145 000 criminals that are in correctional services as we speak in South Africa.
18 000 of them are foreign nationals, which means the majority remain South African.
Cele called upon Alexandra residents to partner with the police to identify and report criminals, regardless of their nationality.
On 6 April this year, Zimbabwean national Elvis Nyathi was brutally murdered by locals in Diepsloot, another township in Johannesburg for not having a passport.