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Hundreds protest over rising crime in South Africa

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Apr 07, 2022 - 08:54 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AA) – Hundreds of South Africans protested Wednesday against rising crime rates in Diepsloot, a township near Johannesburg, accusing police of failing to contain crime, which they blame on illegal immigrants.

Residents barricaded several roads with rubble and burning tires as they marched to the local police station to make their demands heard.

“We are tired of illegal foreign nationals living in our communities. They are responsible for most crimes here because their fingerprints can’t be traced,” a protester who only identified himself as James told Anadolu Agency.

He said they want the police to conduct an operation in the area and check the immigration status of all foreign nationals there.

Protesters claimed that around seven people were killed over the weekend in the township but the police have not made any arrests.

At one point, police had to fire stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the rowdy protesters.

“We are not experts on immigration, but we are experts on crime. On Friday, we will come with Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who deals with immigration issues,” Police Minister Bheki Cele told reporters.

He also promised to deploy more police officers and 16 new vehicles to help strengthen the fight against crime in the area.

Foreign nationals are often blamed for increasing crime and taking jobs in South Africa, where tens of thousands of African migrants have sought opportunities, escaping poverty in their countries.

South Africa has recorded several incidents of xenophobic violence in the recent past where foreign nationals and their businesses have been attacked.

In 2020, violence directed at foreign nationals erupted in Diepsloot, where foreign-owned businesses were looted.

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