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'We will not apologise' for raiding foreign-owned businesses: Bheki Cele

Police minister Bheki Cele. File photo.
Police minister Bheki Cele. File photo.

Police minister Bheki Cele says the police "will not apologise" for raiding businesses owned largely by foreign nationals in the Johannesburg inner city in August.

Cele was responding to questions from an EFF MP in the National Assembly on Wednesday, who had argued that police raids on businesses run by foreign nationals in Johannesburg had triggered this week's violent attacks on foreigners across Gauteng.

The police had carried out raids in the Johannesburg city centre in a bid to clamp down on trading in illegal goods and illegal business operations.

Cele said the SAPS would remain undeterred in its resolve to tackle illegal economic activities and those who sought to undermine the country's laws. He said this week's violence had nothing to do with the operation last month, in which the police themselves had been attacked by foreign nationals.

"We did not raid the people that are innocent .... We were raiding the criminals and for that we're not apologising and for that we're repeating again: we'll raid them time and again until they keep to the law and make sure that the law of the republic is kept."

Since August 28 2019, Gauteng’s streets have become the scene of widespread protests, looting and violence. In the space of a week, many streets have become like a war-zone.