Parliament, Tuesday 03 September 2019 – The Presiding Officers of Parliament, led by National Assembly Speaker Ms Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Mr Amos Masondo, have noted with serious concern the ongoing sporadic violence characterised by tensions between South African communities and foreign nationals in certain parts of the country.

The violence, which is driven by communities on both side of the tension, have entailed disturbing trends of lawlessness, assaults against our law enforcement officers, retaliatory attacks and looting of shops, amongst others. All these acts of criminality are an antithesis to the rule of law and democracy, and threatens our country’s culture of tolerance, peace and coexistence.

The Presiding Officers have appealed for calm amongst these communities while urging our country’s law enforcement agencies to spare no effort in stopping the mayhem and restoring peace and stability. The law enforcement agencies must act with decisiveness and boldness in ensuring that any lawbreaker is brought to book regardless of nationality.

The Presiding Officers have also appealed to leaders from various sectors to assist in providing the necessary leadership in quelling the disorder, including acting circumspectly in their public comments.

Much has been said about our country’s excessively porous borders and the influx of undocumented foreign nationals. While South Africa continues to be a welcoming nation to foreign nationals, illegal immigrants make the state’s Constitutional obligation which is to prevent, combat and investigate crime; maintain public order; and to protect and secure all those who live within its borders difficult to fulfil.

Accordingly, relevant authorities and law enforcement agencies are urged to step up their efforts to curb this phenomenon and take appropriate steps regarding those living illegally in the country.

An urgent meeting between the Presiding Officers and the relevant oversight committees of Parliament will be called to determine a parliamentary intervention on the ongoing violent tensions in the country.

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