Operation Fiela yields success in Port Elizabeth

MAY 18, 2015

Around 1 715 individuals and some 212 vehicles were stopped and searched during Operation Fiela in Port Elizabeth on Thursday and Friday. Over R8 000 worth of drugs and illicit cigarettes were seized, traffic summons valued over R15 000 issued and over 100 people were also arrested for various crimes as well as for being in the country illegally.

According to government, Operation Fiela - or 'Reclaim' is a multidisciplinary operation by various state entities inclusive of, but not limited to, the SAPS, SANDF, Department of Home Affairs, Provincial Traffic Departments and SARS to rid the Eastern Cape Province of illegal weapons, drug dens, prostitution rings and other illegal activities and to ensure strict compliance with the various laws and regulations governing our society.

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

Operation Fiela in Central, Port Elizabeth

The police said Operation Fiela, which was carried out in Central, Port Elizabeth, on Friday night had yielded positive results. The operation started at 18:00 and continued until 02:00 on Saturday morning.

"One thousand, three hundred and forty (1 340) persons and seventy two (72) vehicles were stopped and searched together with sixty eight (68) premises. Three (3) suspects, aged between 35 and 45, were arrested for possession of dagga and for hijacking a motor vehicle. Illicit tobacco to the value of R3 800 was confiscated and dagga with an estimated street value of R5000 was seized," the police said.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Fire Department and the Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements were also part of the operation.

Thirty (30) buildings were inspected and two (2) notices were served as the buildings were unsafe; three houses were closed down where electricity had been tampered with.

One nightclub was closed for operating with an expired licence and fines to the value of R2 400 were issued by Disaster Management for overcrowding.

Eastern Cape and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Traffic officials issued four summons to the value of R15 400 for various crimes ranging from driving without a driver’s licence, learners driving without supervision etc.

14 people were arrested for being in the country illegally.

Operation Feila in Korsten, Port Elizabeth

On Thursday, the same raids were conducted in Korsten where around 140 vehicles and 375 individuals searched - 77 undocumented migrants were arrested. 

These were mostly Somalis, who were taken to Home Affairs by officials to ascertain their credentials.

“We will continue to be very visible and conduct more of these operations to both prevent and combat crime throughout the entire Nelson Mandela Metro. Any inconvenience that may BE CAUSED during these operations is meant for the safety of everyone in the Metro," said Major General Dawie Rabie, Mount Road Cluster Commander.

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

Criticism from civil society

While, civil society organisations have condemned the raids as institutionalised xenophobia and called on the government to stop the arrests, government maintains the operation is not targeted at foreigners.

“The operation is not harassment at all. This is an effort to regulate everyone in the country,” African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, told journalists over the weekend.

“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.”