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No Evidence Suggests Nigerians Attacked S.A Police During Shop Raid

3 mins read Fact Checking Viral Claims Related To Xenophobia IV

Photo Credit: 3ajlnews 3 mins read

CLAIM: South African Police were being attacked by Nigerians in Johannesburg according to a Facebook post.

INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE: YES, South African Police were attacked in Johannesburg. However, the nationalities of the attackers were not disclosed in any reports. The attackers were referred to as ‘foreign nationals’, or  ‘shop owners’.

Full Text:

On August 2, a Facebook page posted that Nigerians attacked South African Police, claiming that Johannesburg belongs to them. The 29 seconds clip showed a large crowd of people chasing and stoning the police vans as they exit the scene. The caption read in full:

” Jo’burg belongs to us says Nigerians.  The South African police are being attacked by Nigerians in Johannesburg CBD, happening right now.
South Africa’s ruling party condemns ‘Migrant’ attacks on police 👇 https://www.dailyafrika.com/south-africas-ruling-party-condemns-migrant-attacks-on-police/

Facebook claim

The post which attained over 2.9K shares and 558 likes was met with distasteful reactions and derogatory remarks in the comments section. Apparently, Nigerians do not like to be slandered, but were they?

Verification

Dubawa’s research findings show that this video was also published by a News24 on Youtube, a day before it was posted on the Facebook page and was captioned differently. The caption read: “WATCH: Joburg shop owners turn on cops trying to confiscate ‘fake’ goods”.

Additionally, a report by the aforementioned South African news site- News24 which accompanied the same video was discovered. According to the publication, a raid by the police on shop owners alleged to be trading fake goods went awry. This police most definitely were not expecting such a retaliatory show of force from shop owners. A display that led to the vandalization of three police mobiles.

This report by All4women also corroborates this incident. The report which was published on the 2nd of August, explained how policemen raided shops who were alleged to be selling fake goods. The shop owners in question were foreign nationals, according to the report. The same shop owners charged at the police amid attempts to confiscate their shop goods. Luckily, no death or injuries were recorded

Also, platforms like Allafrica.com and Nigerianslivinginsouthafrica also threw their hats in the ring in reporting the story. Both making reference to the original publication on the South African news Site, News24.

How did authorities respond to the incident?

In response to the attack, the Police in Gauteng have arrested 560 undocumented foreign nationals in a second raid subsequently after the failed first attempt. This is according to the CNN report, published on the 8th of August.

According to the CNN report, the nationalities of the arrested were not disclosed. Another report by Dailysun.co.za has it that over 1500 officers were deployed to the venue and five vehicles, which contained counterfeit goods were confiscated.   

A police Statement revealed that the raid was a joint operation by the Police and other law enforcement agencies in Gauteng. This comprised of the Provincial Traffic Police and Saturation Unit, the Immigration Officers (Home Affairs), SARS Customs, the Joburg Metro Police Department, and clothing brand owners.

Succinctly, the action was taken in a bid to end criminal activities and the sales of fake commodities in the Centre Business District of Johannesburg. This is buttressed in the statement by South African Police Minister Bheki Cele:

“We cannot have parallel governance with criminals, therefore we will continue to squeeze the space for criminals to zero regardless of race, gender or nationality,” 

Bheki Cele

Regardless, the public are of the opinion that caution should be taken in these matters so as not to inadvertently propagate xenophobia. This is seen in a post by this twitter user who advised the Police not to cause xenophobia in a bid to address the crimes.

Conclusion 

Yes, South African Police were attacked in Johannesburg as shown in the video. However, the nationalities of the attackers were not disclosed in any credible incident reports. The attackers were referred to as ‘foreign Nationals’ and/or ‘Shop Owners’. More so, in the link referenced by the Facebook user, there is no mention of the word- ‘Nigerian’.

Lateef Sanni is a graduate of mass communication from Lagos state university. Before joining Dubawa, he belonged to the association of campus journalists where he was trained on the basics of fact-checking, a tool for combating misinformation in Nigeria. He joined the Dubawa team as a researcher and content developer for Dubawa's social media platforms. He consistently works to improve the dissemination of fact-checks through pictures [fact cards] and videos.

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