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Taking back the streets

Government’s new multidisciplinary operation that aims to crack down on crime and keep people safe is yielding good results.

Operation Fiela/Reclaim brings together various state entities to ensure that there is law and order on the streets of South Africa.

The operation deals with issues of criminality, including illegal weapons, drug dens, prostitution rings and other illegal activities. As part of the operation, law enforcement agencies have been sent to different parts of the country to restore peace and stability.

“As a country, we are concerned about the safety and well-being of all those who live and work here and we want to ensure that both South Africans, and the foreign nationals who live in our midst, are and feel safe,” said Minister in The Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe.

Minister Radebe was speaking at a press briefing reporting back on the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Migration recently.

He added that the operation was not targeting law-abiding citizens or foreign nationals.

“Government will never authorise actions that are contrary to our Constitution and the laws of the country,” Minister Radebe said.

He said the operations will continue to target areas, buildings and spaces which are known to be frequented by criminals.

In the next weeks and months, government will speed-up its efforts to take back public buildings that have been hijacked either by foreign nationals or South Africans.

Efforts will also be made to rid townships and villages of drugs such as nyaope, wunga and tik.

“We are determined to take back the communities from criminals and to re-assert the authority of the state,” Minister Radebe added.

He said a total of 3 914 people were arrested for various crimes such as human trafficking, possession of explosives, drug possession, murder, robbery, rape as well as the possession of illegal firearms, housebreaking, and theft.

“It needs to be noted that while 1 650 undocumented migrants were arrested, 2 264 South African citizens were arrested in connection with various crimes,” said Minister Radebe.

As part of Operation-Fiela, government will ensure that informal businesses are properly licensed and local government by-laws are effectively implemented.

“We are however concerned about those, both South African and foreigners, who illegally run businesses that are in some cases unlicensed, as well as those who engage in collusion, evade taxes, import counterfeit goods and conduct illegal business practices to the detriment of our economy,” he said.

The Minister said security agencies would continue to work around the clock to protect both foreign nationals and South African citizens against any attacks.

“We are maintaining law and order around the country. We believe the attacks against foreign nationals have been stopped because of the work done by government and civil society organisations in mobilising communities to denounce the violence, and ensure peace and harmony amongst all who reside in our country,” he added.