Shilowa says no to state of emergency

GRIM AFTERMATH: The bodies of three victims of xenophobic attack in Reiger Park. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 20/05/2008. © Sowetan.
GRIM AFTERMATH: The bodies of three victims of xenophobic attack in Reiger Park. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 20/05/2008. © Sowetan.

Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa yesterday cautioned politicians against imposing their opinions on how police should deal with xenophobic attacks.

Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa yesterday cautioned politicians against imposing their opinions on how police should deal with xenophobic attacks.

He challenged the view that a state of emergency should be declared and that the army should be deployed in townships following the uprising that has so far claimed more than 22 lives.

"The decision to deploy the army should not be a political one, but that of senior managers of the police, based on their assessment of the situation. While declaration of a state of emergency is a prerogative of the President of the Republic, it is important that such a declaration not be made lightly and in haste," he said.

Shilowa said a state of emergency was an undesirable option. Should it be declared, it could become a habit that each time there was a crisis in the country, it would be resorted to.

"A state of emergency implies, as the Constitution states, that the life of the nation is threatened by war, invasion or general insurrection, disorder, natural disorder or other public emergency," Shilowa said.

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