By Peter Bolder|
Now Daily Special Assignment|
The South African government has launched Operation Fiela (Sweep Out), a brutal campaign to deport victims of recent xenophobic violence and looting before they testify in court, Now Daily can reveal.
Minister in president Jacob Zuma’s office Jeff Radebe confirmed this week that 2 000 victims of xenophobia had been hauled from temporary shelters in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng and instantly deported. Radebe said another 300 illegal immigrants were arrested in Johannesburg’s Hillbrow, Mayfair and Alex, where many Zimbabweans reside, as well as Sunnyside in Pretoria. They await deportation.
The deportations have caused hundreds to flee refugee centres and return to their unsafe neighbourhoods. The government is claiming credit for the reduced numbers in shelters, saying it is evidence of prevailing peace in townships still smouldering with hatred and strife.
The anti-foreigner violence which killed 40 people, according to independent estimates, was blamed on statements attributed to Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini and Zuma’s son Edward, urging foreigners to leave South Africa.
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