140 vehicles and 375 individuals searched during Operation Fiela in Port Elizabeth

MAY 15, 2015

According to Port Elizabeth police, crime prevention operations that took place in Port Elizabeth on Thursday under the nationwide effort called Operation Fiela saw shops, around 140 vehicles and 375 individuals searched.

Police, who barred the media from covering the operation, said about 77 people were arrested for being in the country illegally.

Police, the SANDF, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Police and Home Affairs officials conducted a major raid around Durban Road in Korsten and while searching for criminal elements, they were checking if all foreign nationals in the area are not in the country illegally.

Operation Fiela was launched by government after xenophobic violence swept through KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last month.

Several foreigners, mostly Somalis, were questioned and taken to Home Affairs by officials who scanned their credentials.

Similar raids were held in East London last week which has seen about 100 foreigners jailed while Home Affairs allegedly ascertains their status in the country.

The raids have already seen the arrests of many undocumented foreign nationals and criminals in Johannesburg and Durban in the past three weeks - and government last Thursday said the operation will continue as long as they are required.

Still government said the operation was not specifically targeted at foreigners.

“Operation Fiela is targeted in certain areas, which were areas pointed out to government by the communities as drug infested.

"These areas that the operation focuses on might have a lot of foreign nationals but there are also South Africans who are living in those areas. The arrests that have been made are not necessarily foreigners; they are South Africans who were found with illegal weapons and drugs.

“As a country that prides itself with having the best and most liberal Constitution in the world, we have taken a centre stage on human rights issues, [and] as such we cannot authorise an operation that will violate the human rights of any individuals or groups,” Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams, told the media following a Cabinet meeting last week.

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