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.