Fatal stabbing of police constable ignites protests at Keimoes near Upington
The murder of a police constable near Upington in the Northern Cape has ignited outrage, with some people taking to the streets demanding that foreigners be ousted from the area.
Const Stephano Nico Visagie, 28, was stabbed to death while visiting a friend at Lennertsville, Keimoes, on Wednesday. Police said the motive for his murder was unknown and have not revealed the nationality of a suspect who was arrested.
Scores of residents took to the street afterwards to vent anger and frustration. Some carried tyres, stones and weapons and allegedly attacked houses belonging to foreigners.
A community member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the protest was not about xenophobia but seeking “justice”.
“We just want justice, all this man was doing was protecting us, the community. For him to die like this is unfair and we won’t rest until these people are gone,” he said.
National police spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo ruled out xenophobia.
“We have not received any reports of xenophobia, we have gathered that the protests are related to the killing of a police officer in the area,” he told TimesLIVE.
Naidoo said a 35-year-old suspect who fled the area after the incident was arrested
at Krugersdorp in Gauteng on Thursday.
He said at least 23 people were arrested during the protests. Eight of them were minors who were subsequently released, while the other 15 are to appear in court on charges of public violence.
“The situation is under control but we would like to urge the community to exercise tolerance and allow for investigations to take place,” said Naidoo.
The suspect was expected to be charged with murder and appear in the Keimoes magistrate’s court soon.
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