Johannesburgâ€” Nigerians are among the 245 people arrested by the South African police on Friday for alleged violation of several by-laws, including loitering, littering and public indecency.
The Southern Africa correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that police arrested many of the victims around their business premises near the Central Methodist Church (CMD).
Investigation showed that the suspects were not given the chance to explain themselves as they were arrested even when they claimed to be innocent of the charges.
Many of those arrested immediately paid the stipulated R300 (about N6,000) fine for admission of guilt, while those who could not afford the fee would be arraigned before a Magistrateâ€™s Court today.
Doctors Without Borders, an NGO, has, however, upbraided the police, pointing out that many Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals take refuge near the CMD. It described the arrest as â€œa calculated blitzâ€™â€™.
But Community Safety MEC in the Gauteng Province, Mr Khabisi Mosunkutu, said on Sunday in Johannesburg that the police raid in the Johannesburg CMD on Friday night was not aimed at foreign nationals.
â€œThe operation did not affect and was not related to the foreign nationals that reside in the Central Methodist Church. â€œFor some time, there have been complaints of public disorder and criminal activity, particularly against businesses in the area,â€ Mosunkutu said. He added that South Africans were also among those arrested.