Deputy Speaker, the ACDP once again strongly condemns the senseless and barbaric attacks directed mainly at foreign nationals in our country.
The ACDP is also concerned that our country's security intelligence was reportedly unable to detect any plans by individuals or crime syndicates to trigger violent attacks against foreign nationals.
The spate of xenophobic violence that erupted in May 2008 left
62 people dead, 21 of them were locals. In 2015, there was another spate of attacks across the country in which immigrants were targeted. We expected government to put sufficient measures in place to ensure that we never see a repeat of such violence. That did not happen.
Reports that crime intelligence that should be collecting information on behalf of the police is hampered by instability and infighting in their upper echelons are very concerning. It is totally unacceptable to hear reports that the police have no clear direction on how to tackle the rising crisis, because crime intelligence has left them in a vacuum with no information.
An unnamed provincial police commissioner is reported to have said, and I quote:
There was a lack of directives on who was behind the attacks, and how to handle them. Those who have been arrested are mainly people who just joined the looting of shops, but they were not the masterminds.
We want to know when the masterminds will be arrested.
The ACDP calls on President Ramaphosa to urgently look into what is happening in the crime and security intelligence, and root out all those who are involved in factional infighting in the ANC, rather than focusing on our national security.
It is a known fact that South Africa has a critical skills shortage. We don't have enough doctors, Mathematics and Science teachers and engineers. A number of foreign nationals in our country have filled some of these gaps.
The President and his Ministers should be heard telling the nation, and particularly those calling for foreign nationals to go back to their countries of origin, that many of them are professionals who are making an excellent contribution to service delivery. We need all professionals who are serving our people and contributing to our tax base and GDP.
Government should learn from western nations that always attract the best and brightest minds from around the world, including professionals from Africa.
Conversely, any foreign national who is found taking part in criminal activities in our country such as drug dealing or sex- trafficking must be arrested and face the full might of the law.
Those in the intelligence sector who are napping must wake up and do their work. Government must urgently seek out the masterminds behind the recent spat of xenophobic attacks and torching of trucks, and punish them severely.
If law and order is not restored in our country, and antiforeigner sentiment and attacks on foreign nationals are not strongly condemned and dealt with, President Ramaphosa's efforts to court investment and salvage our stagnant economy will not be realised. Thank you.