The Democratic Alliance (DA) has queried the whereabouts of the 9‚098 people the South African Police claims to have arrested during Operation Fiela.
A reply to a DA parliamentary question revealed that Minister of Police Nhleko had no idea what the status of these detainees was.
“If the minister can tell Parliament‚ with certainty‚ that there were over 9‚000 people arrested as a result of Operation Fiela to date‚ it should be a simple task for him and his colleagues in Cabinet to furnish the public with the details of these arrests.
“However‚ in response to our questions regarding the whereabouts of the detainees and details of any judicial processes as a result‚ he has simply stated that ‘the information that is required is not readily available.”
The DA’s Diana Kohler Barnard said that in a fair society “it cannot be that individuals are detained within South Africa’s borders yet their whereabouts within the criminal justice system are not readily available for reporting by the minister”.
The DA said that it was important to note that foreign nationals accounted for a portion of the arrested persons.
“This raises questions regarding repatriation and deportation. Given the laws governing such actions and previous abuses by the Department of Home Affairs at Lindela‚ it is of crucial importance that Parliament is fully appraised of the details of these arrests and any resultant actions.
“Of equal importance‚ the DA has long held that we would only support the deployment of the defence force within our borders in exceptional circumstances and in line with section 201(2)(a) ‘in co-operation with the police service’.
“With the xenophobic attacks having subsided‚ it is critical that we know the status of these arrests and Operation Fiela in its entirety.”