The South African government on Monday refuted claims that foreign nationals in South Africa, and in particular Somalians, are being killed every second day in Cape Town.
“The discourse of Somalian isolation to crime is incorrect,” said Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency and Chairperson of Inter-Governmental Committee on Migration (IGCM).
He was responding to claims by the Somali Community Board of South Africa (SCBSA) that Somalian refugees have become the target of crimes as a result of xenophobia.
Crime affects everyone irrespective of nationality or race, said Radabe.
This type of isolation may foster strong identification within a community and lead to relatively conflictual relations with other groups, he said.
The SCBSA claims that dozens of Somalians have been murdered in South Africa since the beginning of this year, with most of the murders taking place in Khayelitsha, an impoverished area in Cape Town.
Referring to reports that Somalians are arming themselves in an attempt to protect themselves and their properties, Radebe said firearm owners in South Africa have to be legally licensed and follow the protocols as required by law to obtain a firearm.
South Africa is a country that is governed by the application of the rule of law which applies to all people equally, said Radabe.
“Government calls on Somalians and their respective structures in the country to work with South Africa’s established law enforcement agencies to fight crime instead of addressing it through their networks,” he said.
The government discourages any attempt by the Somali nationals to cause divisions among community members, Radabe added.
Through the IGCM, the government continues to tirelessly work to avoid any possible clashes between foreign nationals and the local communities, Radebe said.
South Africa has been hit by xenophobic attacks over the past few years, with the most recent spate of violence taking place in February this year, in which dozens of foreign-owned shops and businesses were burned down.