Thousands of foreign nationals in South Africa have been displaced by xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal. At least six people have been killed, hundreds of shops have been looted, closed down or burnt, and a wave of terror and criminality has been unleased on foreign nationals.
At the transit camp in Chatsworth, Durban, the foreign nationals are living in real inhumane conditions.
In Johannesburg xenophobic violence has also arisen. It is not long before it will be all over the country.
Meanwhile illogical statements by senior South Africa officials are not helping. Like this one from Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko who said: “I can tell you now that this so-called xenophobia is not that. It’s more ‘Afrophobia’. It’s ideologically driven. But we are on top of it and in control…”
Afrophobia? Really? People dead and a man locked in a container with his brother that is then set alight? Is that ideological?
We share the concern expressed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) who observed how well-coordinated the xenophobic attacks are. The coordination of these attacks must be probed by Crime Intelligence units. The criminals who are driving this violence and looting must face the full might of the law.
The DA also said in a statement: “This cannot be the South Africa of today. We are meant to be a nation grounded in human rights, and compassion for others. We cannot allow a descent into violence and the murdering of our neighbours on the streets of this land. South Africa must collectively condemn and fight against xenophobia. We must stand united against hate and violence. South Africa has been a beacon of hope and a model of rights and constitutionalism to the whole world.”
The fires of Xenophobia have been fanned by the reckless utterances of senior leaders. Those who incite violence are guilty of violence themselves.
What have been said?
- Gwede Mantashe called for foreigners to be rounded up and placed into refugee camps.
- King Goodwill Zwelithini is on record calling for foreigners to pack their bags and leave South Africa.
- Edward Zuma called for an end to what he called unnecessary accommodation of “foreign nationals that shoot our mothers and sisters” and supported the calls of King Zwelithini.
These xenophobic calls should be condemned by every South African.