Stop Violence Against Somali Immigrants


Target: Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega, Police Chief of the South African Police Service (SAPS)

Goal: Respond more quickly and efficiently to attacks against Somali immigrants in South Africa

Recently there have been violent attacks on businesses, shops and restaurants owned by Somali immigrants in the township of Mamelodi, outside of the city of Pretoria. The violence has cost lives and is part of a growing trend of violence against recent immigrants in South Africa’s large cities. The National Police Chief of the South African Police Service (SAPS), Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega has the power and the obligation to protect all residents of South Africa, including recent immigrants. Call on her today to improve police response and increase protection for South Africa’s most vulnerable people.

Amnesty International has been tracking the violence. They claim that there were repeated calls to the police that went ignored. In an article posted June 12, 2014 the human rights organization also contended that police did not adequately deploy forces after they learned of the destruction. According to Amnesty International, the series of incidents left one dead, ten injured, and 76 businesses damaged or destroyed.

Deprose Muchena, Amnesty’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, called the attacks, “Just the latest in a wave of ongoing and widespread violence targeted at refugees and migrants in South Africa. The fact that they were preventable highlights a pattern of inaction on the part of the police and a failure of political will in government to tackle this violence.” He continued, “Six years after the large-scale xenophobic violence of 2008, it is inexcusable that South African authorities have yet to address this problem.”

The Mamelodi division of SAPS failed to protect the Somali community, and when they finally did respond, police left too early to ensure that the violence would not resume. As South Africa’s first female Police Chief, Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega occupies an important place in history. In order to continue being a force for good, she must commit to responding more quickly and efficiently to xenophobic crime.


Dear Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega,

The Somali community came to South Africa looking for a better life. One with less threat of violence and unrest. The recent violence and vandalism that swept the Somali community in Mamelodi must be acknowledged and prevented from ever happening again.

I am writing today to urge you to commit to tasking all police officers in South Africa with responding more swiftly and thoroughly to complaints of xenophobic attacks.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ewint32 via Wikimedia Commons

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