The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on Wednesday confirmed the extension of its participation in an anti-crime operation.
The SANDF said Wednesday it received a request from the South African Police Service (SAPS) to extend its participation in Operation Fiela (meaning “sweep” in Sesotho) until the end of March next year.
Operation Fiela was launched in April following an outbreak of xenophobic violence that killed seven people and displaced thousands of foreigners.
“It is the police that request the SANDF and then the request is taken and processed through up until the president gives the authority or not,” SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) pressed for reasons in parliament for extending the SANDF’s involvement in Operation Fiela, which has come under fire by human rights organizations for allegedly discriminating against foreign nationals by targeting them during raids.
The opposition maintains that the military’s deployment to Operation Fiela was as a result of the waning capacity of the SAPS amid the xenophobic violence and a spike in crime earlier this year that put extra strain on the SAPS which then needed the support of the defense force.
Since Operation Fiela was launched, 9,098 people have been arrested for allegedly committing a variety of crimes, Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko said on Tuesday.
Foreign nationals account for a portion of those arrested during the operation. Enditem