Government's recently formed inter-departmental crime eradication task team ‘Operation Fiela’ is currently facing public scrutiny for the naming of the operation and following allegations by the Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) that the operation’s recent raids have unlawfully targeted foreign nationals.
Claims of targeting non-nationals
CapeTalk and 702's Redi Tlhabi spoke to Wayne Ncube, co-coordinator for the LHR’s immigration and detention monitoring unit.
Access to legal representation is a clear Constitutional right. But, this phenomena of denying immigration detainees access to legal representatives, and even to their own families, is something that we have noticed for a number of years now. It seems as though the police and the Department of Home Affairs set a different stand for the right's that immigration detainees have over other detainees.
Ncube says after the initial arrests, which they deem unlawful, individuals with South African identity documents were released. He says that the the operation, which is joined by immigration officials, makes it very clear that they are targeting foreign nationals.
_Watch _Operation Fiela send Malawians packing
The Head of LHR's Strategic Litigation Programme, David Cote, spoke to 702’s John Robbie:
On Friday morning, we heard about the operation and we attempted to speak to detainees but we were refused access and so we got a court order which would allow us access, but they still ignored that court order. We were (subsequently) able to speak to some of the detainees that were at a particular camp and we found that there were more asylum seekers amongst these immigrants. We need to see what the basis is for these raids and, unfortunately, we've seen foreign nationals being targeted in these matters.
_Watch _‘Operation Fiela’ compares foreigners to rubbish
Our listeners share their views with Redi Tlhabi
@RediTlhabi .Operation Fiela is NOT a new name ready. In the East Rand road blocks are called "Shanela". You cleaning the scourge of crime— KingMXO (@TheeMXO) May 13, 2015
@RediTlhabi operation Fiela is Gov gone King Zwelithini all over again ...— uMama yi Mfengukazi (@ThembaletuMbang) May 13, 2015
@RediTlhabi I thought this operation target high crime zone and it started in south african dominated area B4 moving on to other areas— Mee (@nox_hlo) May 13, 2015
@RediTlhabi are deportations really effective? Most who are deported (mostly Zimbabweans) find their way back to SA in less than a month.— Ghetto Youth 🎧 (@sveveni) May 13, 2015
@RediTlhabi "Operation Fiela" terrible name to call it considering the largely false stigma attached to foreign nationals. Fuel to a fire.— Bulali Dazana (@daz_inc_) May 13, 2015
Listen to the full conversation on the Redi Tlhabi Show: