Parliament, Wednesday, 16 May 2018 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Mr Francois Beukman, has raised concerns regarding brazen threats against foreign spaza shop owners in Durban’s northern townships. The committee dissuades any kind of threat of violence against any person within the borders of the country.
Reports indicate that a letter from the Northern Region Business Association has instructed foreign spaza shop owners to “close down your shop and cease all operations within 14 days of the letter”.
“It is unacceptable that such letters are distributed as they have undertones of xenophobic sentiments that resulted in numerous deaths during the 2015 xenophobic attacks. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights is applicable to everyone within the borders of the country and such letters fall foul of the provisions of the Constitution,” Mr Beukman said.
South Africa has taken a strategic decision not to have refugee camps and to allow refugees in the country to live and work among South Africans. As per the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) asylum legislation, all basic principles of refugee protection including freedom of movement, the right to work and access to basic social services must be adhered to at all times.
The committee welcomes the intervention by the provincial government in quelling the simmering tensions in the area. The committee further urges the South African Police Service to remain on high alert to ensure that the situation is kept under control. Furthermore, the Crime Intelligence Unit must work hard to gather information that will ensure that such threats are crushed before they are implemented.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON POLICE, MR FRANCOIS BEUKMAN
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