23/02/2017 21:32 SAST | Updated 23/02/2017 21:36 SAST

'Scores Of People' Expected At Pretoria Anti-Immigration March

'Avoid using inflammatory xenophobic language which further fuels xenophobic attitudes' -- Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

Gallo Images/ Daily Sun / Jabu Kumalo
Immigrants, asylum seekers and other organisations handed over a memorandum to Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba during a protest in Johannesburg on December 19, 2016. Mashaba was criticised for allegedly making xenophobic comments.

"Scores of people" are expected to take part in an anti-immigration march in Pretoria on Friday, security services have said.

Law enforcement officers will be deployed along the route and at venues where memorandums would be handed over, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) said in a statement on Thursday.

It is an inter-departmental committee chaired by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and convenes for all major marches and events.

The anti-immigration march was organised by a group calling itself the Concerned Mamelodi Residents.

NATJOINTS spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the City of Tshwane had approved the march.

He warned that it was illegal to carry dangerous weapons during the march and urged participants to ensure it was peaceful.

"Any form of hate speech, intolerance or incitement to violence should be rejected by all sectors of society."

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) called on authorities to ensure there was no violence or looting during the event.

"All too often such marches tend to become violent and destructive while the actual focus on and concerns of citizens are forgotten," IFP national chairperson Blessed Gwala said in a statement.

Tshwane metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said SAPS was handling security.

The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) condemned the planned march and said government needy to urgently address the systemic inefficiencies that led to xenophobic violence.

"Community leaders and government officials should avoid using inflammatory xenophobic language which further fuels xenophobic attitudes," the IJR said.

Gwala said while police had been conducting searches and arresting undocumented immigrants, these actions had been few and far between. More effort and co-ordination from authorities was needed.

On Saturday, residents of Pretoria West raided homes they alleged were being used as brothels and drug dens. They called for "pimps" to release prostitutes and send them back home. Two houses were set alight.

On February 11, at least 10 houses allegedly being used for drug dealing and prostitution were set alight in Rosettenville, Johannesburg. Locals alleged that Nigerians were the source of the criminal activity.