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If Operation Dudula isn't stopped, we could see repetition of July unrest: DA

29 March 2022 - 18:46 By LWAZI HLANGU
Members of Operation Dudula protested against the employment of illegal foreigners.
Members of Operation Dudula protested against the employment of illegal foreigners.
Image: Alon Skuy

The DA on Tuesday labelled the actions of Operation Dudula as criminal and xenophobic, becoming  the latest party to condemn the group. 

The DA is joining the EFF, the ANC veterans league and President Cyril Ramaphosa in expressing their disapproval of activities of the movement led by Nhlanhla Lux Dlamini.

Dlamini, who was listed in the charge sheet as Nhlanhla Mohlauli, is out on bail after being charged with housebreaking and malicious damage to property. He was arrested on Thursday and spent the weekend in police custody after Victor Ramerafe, accompanied by the EFF, opened a case against him at the Dobsonville police station on Wednesday.

Ramerafe's home was ransacked by Operation Dudula members last week after they claimed to have received information that he was selling drugs from the premises. After a raid of the premises, no drugs were found. Ramerafe said the group caused some damage to his house and also took R300 he had in the house.

Operation Dudula, which was announced in June 2021, has since mushroomed in various parts of the country with its main objectives being to root out illegal immigrants.

The DA’s shadow minister of home affairs, Angel Khanyile, said: “We condemn the xenophobic rhetoric and subsequent illegality against foreigners in SA that seem part and parcel of Operation Dudula. While Operation Dudula’s mission might be to protect communities, it cannot be at the expense of foreign nationals who call SA home.” 

“The DA understands the frustration facing marginalised communities but we do not believe that the appropriate course of action is xenophobia and violence.”

The official opposition believes the actions of Dudula will lead to the violence and unrest similar to that the country saw in July 2021 after the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma. In Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, chaos erupted as shops were looted and scores of businesses were damaged. More than 300 people died in the unrest.

“SA cannot afford another bout of widespread riots. Our economy is simply too fragile to withstand the attacks by individuals whose words fan the flames of unrest,” Khanyile said. 

She set her sights at those whose messages she alleged to be stirring up tensions against foreign nationals.

“Politicians, individuals and organisations that fan xenophobic flames must face the consequences of their deplorable actions. They will see the country in chaos again only to score cheap political points.

“Sentiments by political parties like Action SA, the Patriotic Alliance and the EFF cannot go unchallenged. Blaming foreigners for years of destruction caused by ANC greed and corruption is not only foolish and naive, it is dangerous. It ignores the reality that foreign migrants often create jobs and job opportunities for South Africans,” Khanyile said. 

She called for increased support for community policing forums (CPFs) and for the police to foster better relationships with the communities they serve.

“At the moment, many communities experience SAPS only as part of the problem.”

He called for the state Security Agency (SSA) to monitor the situation closely and for home affairs to “ensure the quick and correct processing of visas and other documentation”.

“SA will not flourish while xenophobia persists and individuals, including some politicians, get away with spouting hatred and intolerance.”

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