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Ramaphosa warns Operation Dudula members

President Ramaphosa urged South Africans to respect the law and report those who break it, and to join community policing forums to assist the South African Police Service. Picture: GCIS

President Ramaphosa urged South Africans to respect the law and report those who break it, and to join community policing forums to assist the South African Police Service. Picture: GCIS

Published Mar 22, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - If the country wants to get rid of corruption and gender-based violence, then all South Africans must become anti-corruption and gender-based violence activists.

However, this should be done through organised formations and not vigilante groups, President Cyril Ramaphosa warned, addressing a national Human Rights Day commemoration in Koster in the North West on Monday.

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“We are the ones who must cleanse our communities; we must not expect people from outside to do so. My call to you is that let us join the fight against corruption and gender-based violence,” he said.

Ramaphosa urged South Africans to respect the law and report those who break it, and to join community policing forums to assist the South African Police Service.

The president warned against the groups mushrooming across the country that are targeting foreign nationals, and cautioned employers to stop hiring undocumented foreigners.

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“We say to employers: Do not employ undocumented workers because when you do, you are just going to create tension among the people,” he said.

Ramaphosa said members of organisations such as Operation Dudula which has been targeting foreign nationals who run small businesses, demanding they leave the country, were breaking the law.

“We can’t allow people to use vigilantism to deal with issues,” he said, adding that this was a highly-sensitive matter that could turn into deadly xenophobic violence.

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Ramaphosa said employers that knowingly hire undocumented foreign nationals are breaking the law and contributing to social tensions between South African citizens and foreign nationals.

“We should not allow ourselves to be at war with those from other countries.

Unemployment should not make us go to war against people from other countries,” he said.

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The United Nations Human Rights Council Southern Africa regional representative, Abigail Noko meanwhile said the scourge of racism persists today.

“The challenges that emerged from that era still remain with us today. We see a lot of inequality in this country, we see a lot of challenges still with issues around race and racism. What is important is for the youth to understand that they can build on that history. That there can be progress and if you look back to see where we have come today one can realise that there is a journey travelled and they can build on that experience to really address the current challenges.”

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said with the release of the 2019-2020 Trends Analysis Report highlighting a 13% increase in the total number of complaints received by the Commission from the previous financial year, it is clear that the attainment of human rights is key to enable a stable and prosperous constitutional democracy.

The SAHRC added that it would later this year announce plans for a sustained national effort to forge social harmony through cultivating social cohesion, solidarity and healing.

The Khulumani Support Group, a social movement in South Africa transforming victims of apartheid atrocities into active citizens said they expected people to speak out and be healed.

Vice chair, Abram Mofokeng reflected: “We had no freedom of movement, you were restricted to one place. Wherever you go you must carry a pass. In your pass there were rules of where you belong and where you stay. We had nowhere to go, we just had to accept what the white man says.”

Cape Times

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