The Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) has applauded the decision to deploy the army in townships hit by xenophobic attacks.
SATSA CEO Michael Tatalias said on Thursday the decision was right because police did not have the manpower to contain the attacks.
“It is clearly the right decision as the past ten days have shown that the police service alone does not have the manpower to contain and bring to a stop the current wave of xenophobia in Gauteng townships.
“What is needed is manpower on the ground and a firm hand in re-establishing law and order,” Tatalias said.
President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday approved a request from the SA Police Service for the involvement of the National Defence Force in stopping ongoing attacks on foreign nationals in Gauteng.
This approval followed a wave of xenophobic attacks, mostly on foreign nationals, that have left over 40 people dead and thousands homeless.
The violent attacks started in Alexandra, and quickly spread across Johannesburg townships, with an intensified impact reported on the East Rand.
Tatalias said the army had the experience and equipment to contain this kind of violence due to time spent on various peacekeeping missions.
He cautioned that the attacks could do “untold damage” to SA’s booming tourism industry.
“This is not the kind of image we want to project to our visitors and something will have to be done soon to reverse this situation,” Tatalias said.
SATSA is a non-profit, member-driven association that represents both small business and principals in the private sector of tourism.