Members of the South African police, along with units of Tactical Response Team and Bomb Disposal, entered the Alexandra Men’s Hostel around midnight Wednesday morning.
SANDF soldiers and armoured cars were stationed close to the hostel, while the police walked through and searched rooms. SAPS spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza explained that the purpose of the raid was to uncover illegal firearms.
Some residents were asked to vacate the rooms. Although visibly perplexed by the raid, there were no instances of backlash.
One officer was overheard saying, “the criminals are here”, but only two crates of beer were brought out by the end of the raid. Later reports said that one arrest was made.
#Xenophobia Raid wrapping up now. At least one man led out with hands cuffed.
The raid on Jeppestown Men’s Hostel Tuesday night was about the ‘criminal elements’ from the xenophobic attacks in the area. 11 suspects were arrested.
SAPS provinicial spokesperson Lt Kay Makhubela explained that the police seized stolen goods, ‘believed to may have’ come from lootings.
Reports have also mentioned large amounts of dagga received.
SANDF spokesperson Xolani Mabanga wouldn’t comment on who carried out or led the raid, saying only that ‘the military is in support of the SAPS’.
Makhubela clarified that the police moved in, while the military secured the perimeter: ‘Military backs up while police do their job.’
Further questioning to Lt Makhubela didn’t establish direct links betwern the raid and the overall violence against non-South Africans. When asked if raid was legal and the police had a court order: “… The police have the right to enter premises, when they see an immediate threat, for a raid without a search warrant. ”
There were related reports Tuesday that journalists were forced by police to delete photos taken around the hostel. Makhubela declined to confirm whether orders were given to officers to do so. He added that it’s not ‘illegal’ for journos and photographers to take photos as part of their jobs. He invited affected members of the press to open a case against the offending officer.
1:43pm: JMPD Spokesperson Wayne Minnaar denied there was any concern or ‘negativity’ from JMPD about the protest. All necessary permits and applications have been followed correctly. When asked about number of officers present tomorrow, he could not confirm the number of assigned officers due to the shift system employed.
A ‘March Against Crime’ will happen this coming Friday 20 March from 10am to 1pm, starting from Roodepoort City Hall and ending at SAPS Roodepoort, where a memorandum will be handed over.
Deep in South Africa asked the march organiser and Ward 71 Councillor Gert Niemand to explain more about the march. It hasn’t had much traction or exposure on social media.
What turnout are you expecting for this march?
Well, we are planning for 500 and it [looks like] that we will come close to that.
Is this the first ever march organized in your ward?
Yes, the march organised for the Roodepoort Constituency along with the Northwest Constituency which covers the Honeydew Cluster police area.
What kind of security arrangements are in place for the day for marchers to be at ease?
Both SAPS and JMPD will be in attendance. From the organisers side, we will have sufficient marshalls as well as medical personnel available.
Any personal fears ahead of this march?
As the organiser, there is a 101 things that CAN go wrong, but I am confident that the march will be a success from an organising point of view as well as having a positive outcome and getting the message across that the community can and will not accept the high levels of crime in their area.
How difficult or straightforward was it obtaining the necessary permit from the municipality and police?
The application proses for a public march is relatively straightforward, JMPD has got one office that deals with all these applications. The applicant goes in, do the application are then given a date to appear before the JOC panel and once appeared the march or event is approved or disapproved. The problem comes in that when you hand memoranda over to someone, the recipient of such a memorandum must give you a letter indicating that they will receive the memorandum. SAPS had no problem providing me with such a letter, but JMPD refused to receive one and referred me to the Speakers office. We will not be handing them a memorandum on the day but will hand the memorandum in to the Office of the Speaker which will then make it a formal document to Council that needs to be dealt with.
In a telephonic conversation with the official spokesperson for SAPS Roodepoort Warrant Officer Nonhlanhla Khumalo, she confirmed that there will be a march on Friday and that the appropriate permit had been obtained from JMPD, but that there had been no official communication between the Councillor’s office and SAPS Roodepoort. Officer Khumalo kept mentioning that she ‘had read about it in the local newspaper.’
Officer Khumalo added that the councillor has stipulated that the memorandum will be handed over to the Honeydew Clustre Commander, rather than the SAPS Roodepoort commander. The reason for this remains unclear.
Honeydew Clustre is comprised of Douglasdale, Florida, Honeydew, Randburg, Roodepoort,
Cosmo City, and also includes informal settlements – Zandspruit, Itsoseng, Diepsloot, Kya Sands, Pipeline, Durban Deep and Matholesville.
Would you say SAPS and Metro were helpful in the process?
Yes, as far as the application process is concerned.
How did this march come out? Was it a community call? Shed some light here.
The idea behind the march came about as all the wards in the Honeydew Cluster, ward councillors have been inundated at public meetings for some time now by Community members and block watches that the overall crime situation is getting out of hand. In terms of JMPD, we as ward councillors are dealing with complaints on a daily basis of by-law infringements such as illegal dumping, illegal taxi ranks, illegal signage, etc. That needs the attention of JMPD.
The headings of the flyer are direct and point to particular problems. Are you aware of specific statistics that support your reasons for the march?
Yes, the 2014 crime stats that were released by the South African Police Services. The Honeydew Cluster and in particular the Honeydew and Roodepoort Police Stations are in the Top 10 worst Crime Statistics in Gauteng.
Has there been any hostility expressed against the march so far?
None so ever from the Community at large, but as I’ve mentioned JMPD is not too happy.
What do you want to see come out of this march, both from government and community?
On the community side much more awareness and involvement with their local block watch structures and crime forums. From the government side, more pro-active policing, revised sector policing module, more staff and more resources to be made available against the fight. There also needs to be an attitude change from both organisations to the way they conduct themselves in relation to their job.
Major question to be answered on Friday… Why a 3 hour march for a 13 minute walk?