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President Zuma is denying that Operation FIELA is targeting foreigners. He is insisting that the government is only fighting the high level of crime in the country.

Congress of the People is astonished. Is it only now, so late in the day that the President has come to this realisation? Has it taken the Zuma administration six years to recognise that criminals were creating havoc in South Africa and destroying lives? Why is he acting with such determination now?

While the President is painting a grim picture of crime, the Minister of Police interpreted the crime statistics recently in a rosy fashion. Why is he misleading us?

For a very long while, the President castigated anyone who dared to highlight crime in the country. In his view, all those who were doing so were seeking to create a negative image of the country and of the ruling party. Now, what does he have to say of his own pronouncement on crime in our country.

COPE believes that operation FIELA is indeed targeting foreigner citizens. The figures give the game away. The explanation from the President is therefore nothing but smokescreen.

Different civil society organizations have seen through this. They are therefore characterising Operation FIELA as institutionalized xenophobia. It is clear that the police are arresting foreign nationals.

Cope regrets that operation FIELA is selective. We want the ruling party to propel the economy forward, create jobs, reduce joblessness and go after all criminals irrespective of who they are. President Zuma must fight crime in a totally comprehensive manner.

Cope urges the President to come clean on Operation FIELA and to lay the facts on the table. We believe that the police have arrested 800 people all of whom are foreign nationals. This is institutionalised xenophobia.

Issued by Dennis Bloem on behalf of COPE, Dennis Bloem is Cope Spokesperson

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