“Operation Fiela not violating human rights” - Mantashe


African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, has rejected speculation that government’s anti-criminal and drug campaign, Operation Fiela, was solely targeting foreign nationals, saying it was meant to “disarm everybody, foreign and national in the country”.

Addressing journalists during a three-day national executive committee meeting at Luthuli House over weekend, Mantashe stated that the joint operation between police, the military and customs was not an attack on human rights, before rebuking claims that it was being viewed as a method to deport foreign nationals back to their countries of origin.

A reported 3 914 arrests have so far been made with 1 650 being undocumented foreigners and the remaining 2 264 from South Africa.

“The operation is not harassment at all. This is an effort to regulate everyone in the country,” Mantashe was quoted was saying.

“I don’t know how human rights organisations can be opposed to that, one you have illegal firearms in communities, other people’s rights in those communities are infringed upon. Every person’s human right includes the safety of others”.

Speaking at a similar briefing in Pretoria yesterday, Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, said that the number of South Africans arrested proves that the campaign was not aimed at foreigners, and that its implementation was mainly due to providing a safer environment for all.

“There is no mission to single out foreigners in Operation Fiela search-and-seizure operations. Our operations are intelligence-driven and will continue to target areas, buildings and spaces that are known to be frequented by criminals,” he said.

According to The Sowetan, 31 unlicensed firearms and 400 rounds of ammunition were seized in KwaZulu-Natal alone, while a crackdown in Port Elizabeth and East London resulted in the arrests of 91 and 100 unlicensed foreign nationals.


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