Johannesburg – A group of 287 people have been arrested for throwing stones and damaging property at the Marabastad Home Affairs department on Wednesday morning, Gauteng police said.
Police spokesperson Captain Tshekiso Mofokeng said the group of protesters had gathered outside the department at about 09:00. Police were called to the scene and arrived at about 11:00.
“[A total of] 287 people were taken in and one of them was charged with damage to property, after a police vehicle was damaged,” Mofokeng said.
He said the other 286 were still being held as part of an investigation into the matter and it was not yet clear whether they would also be charged.
Department of home affairs spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete, said the group caused disruptions when home affairs officials began assisting foreign nationals from the SADC region.
Foreign nationals from other African regions were demanding to be helped as well. “Home Affairs processes different regions of Africa on different days of the week,” Tshwete explained.
Management at the facility decided to process some SADC nationals who had not been dealt with on the previous day, which resulted in foreign nationals from other regions showing their displeasure through violence.
“We are urging the various groups not to get involved in violence because it is not going to work in their favour. It is not to say that those who are unhappy are not warranted, it is just to say you do not voice your displeasure with violence,” said Tshwete.
He said this applied to both South Africans and foreign nationals.