Bheki Cele says government has a plan to end xenophobic attacks

Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Image: Esa Alexander

Government has a plan to end the xenophobic attacks which have engulfed Gauteng but the plan cannot be released to the public.

This was said by police minister Bheki Cele on Monday, a day after two people were killed in the Johannesburg inner city during xenophobic attacks. The violence and deaths happened after a gathering by hostel dwellers in Belgaria, eastern Johannesburg, went out of control.

So far the death toll has risen to 12. On Monday, Cele met with business leaders in Randburg to discuss the xenophobic attacks which have resulted in a diplomatic fallout for South Africa in the rest of the continent.

“No. We are not going to stand here and tell you the plan and then say to criminals you go and counter us. They (criminals) have strategies; we are not going to give them our plan. We don’t have their plans. The plan [for the country] is there. I must put you at ease, even with the business [community] we only gave just the top of the plan rather than actual plan [detail],” said Cele.

On Sunday, former IFP leader Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi tried to address a belligerent group of hostel dwellers who instead hurled insults at him and later went on the rampage. Taking to the streets, the mob smashed shop and car windows along the way. Two people were later killed in the Johannesburg inner city.

About the chaotic gathering on Sunday, Cele said: “The meeting had nothing whatsoever to do with government, hence you did not see a single minister, an MEC or the premier. Don’t ask us about yesterday’s meeting. You go and ask the people that addressed the meeting… I blame nobody [for what happened after the meeting],” Cele said.

He said the minister of international relations Naledi Pandor was currently meeting with ambassadors and high commissioners to discuss government’s efforts to end the violence.These included Nigeria and other members of the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

Nigerians have been the most vocal against xenophobic attacks in SA, with mobs in that country attacking South African businesses such as MTN and Multichoice. However, the Nigerian government intervened to protect SA business interests in that country.

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