Mass arrest of foreigners in South Africa

At least 600 undocumented foreign nationals were arrested by police on Wednesday, local media reports.

They were arrested in the Joburg CBD during a search operation. Firearms and counterfeit goods were among the items recovered in various buildings.

David Makhura, premier of the Gauteng province which surrounds Johannesburg, tweeted that the operation is a part of a clean-up operation:

“Six rifles, six pistols, four shotguns and hundreds of [rounds of] various ammunition [have been] seized. A large consignment of counterfeit goods [has been] found in different buildings.”

Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters earlier said police were conducting a raid after closing off Von Wielligh and Rahima Moosa Streets. “We are raiding the buildings. We are confiscating counterfeit goods. We also arrested undocumented foreign nationals,” she said.

The search operation was joined by various law enforcement authorities, among them police minister Bheki Cele and Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba.

The raids come after a crowd of people attacked police with bricks and stones in retaliation to a crackdown on the sale of counterfeit goods in the city last week.

“We are cleaning up our CBD. We will not rest until we take our city back. We are sending a very strong message to all those who think they can occupy our buildings illegally,” tweeted Makhura.