Nehawu flays police for their 'inactivity' during looting sprees of foreign-owned shops

It was free for all for looters in Turffontein yesterday as stores owned by foreigners were looted
It was free for all for looters in Turffontein yesterday as stores owned by foreigners were looted
Image: Thulani Mbele

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union [Nehawu] in Gauteng has condemned the police for being "bystanders" in the xenophobic attacks that have plagued the province.

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, the union said the violence which has caused many businesses and schools to close has negatively affected working-class families because of police inaction.

Listen | What Police Minister General Bheki Cele plans to do about violent looting in Gauteng

"We condemn their [police] inactivity and inability to provide protection. In this regard, we call for the top brass of the SAPS to face consequences for their gross incompetence. The police have a duty to make conditions for businesses to operate and schools to continue with education - rather than the police merely focusing on telling people to close businesses and stay at home," said the statement.

The union said all law-enforcement agencies must ensure that all people involved in the crimes that occurred must be arrested. “We demand an immediate deployment of the intelligence services and an urgent investigation for prosecution of the criminal gangs operating in the province and everywhere else.”

However, the union stated that decisive action against unregulated street hawking, illegal imports and corruption on the borders needs to occur.

“We need to gallantly fight corruption at the points of entry amongst staff deployed there and move towards insourcing all forms of security at the ports of entry. Furthermore, we need to ensure that asylum seekers are allowed and protected inside the country. Migrants must be given proper chances to apply if they meet the relevant requirements for work permits.”

Meanwhile, police minister Gen Bheki Cele will on Tuesday be meeting izinduna from Cleveland and Denver hostels after reports that people residing in these hostels were involved in the looting and burning of foreign-owned shops.

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