Commenting on SA xenophobic tension, South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma begged SA citizens to not blame all criminal activities on non-nationals.
In a press statement, the Presidency disclosed that Mr President will champion a fight against crime in order to promote safer and more stable communities in light of several complaints from communities about drug trafficking and other serious crimes.
Referring to the threats of violence and acts of intimidation and destruction of property directed at non-nationals living in South Africa, the Presidency asserted that the situation has become more serious because residents in some communities are blaming non-nationals for the escalating crimes, especially drug trafficking.
“Violence erupted in Pretoria West and Rosettenville, and there are simmering tensions that have been reported in other areas including the dissemination of hate speech and threatening messages via social media,” stated the Presidency.
According to the Presidency, Zuma strongly condemned the acts of violence and, is calling on citizens and non-nationals to exercise restraint, unite against crime and work with the authorities to bring perpetrators of crime to book.
As learnt, President Zuma will be visiting some of the communities involved to obtain a first-hand account of problems faced.
Also, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Migration has been directed to look into the threats of violence and ensure that programmes agreed on since the last outbreak of violence, which are being implemented, are communicated to the public.
Upholding that South Africans are not xenophobic, President Zuma said:
“The security Ministers briefed me about recent incidents of violence and destruction of property as well as rumors of impending violence directed at non-nationals circulating on social media.
There are real concerns by South Africans in many areas about serious crime that is destabilizing communities. In Nyanga ambulances cannot even enter the township to fetch sick people to take them to hospital. Delivery vans have to be escorted by police when entering the townships.
People fear even walking around the townships. I impressed upon the Ministers that action is needed in Nyanga and other areas. Our people cannot continue to live in fear like this.”
Adding that he government has also, noted the complaints of South Africans about companies that employ illegal immigrants, Mr President promised that the Department of Home Affairs will be cracking down on all employers doing that.
Above all, he pleaded with South Africans to not blame all criminal activities on non-nationals. He said:
“Many citizens of other countries living in South Africa are law-abiding and contribute to the economy of the country positively. It is wrong to brandish all non-nationals as drug dealers or human traffickers.
Let us isolate those who commit such crimes and work with government to have them arrested, without stereotyping and causing harm to innocent people.
In particular, Government requests communities to assist the police with information relating to complaints that some non-nationals may be involved in selling drugs, human trafficking and other serious crimes.
This will enable law enforcement agencies to act against such lawlessness regardless of the place of origin of the perpetrators.”
Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) issued a statement concerning the erupting xenophobic attacks saying the country’s unemployment shouldn’t be blamed on African brothers but on Zuma’s party – the ANC.
EFF lamented that South Africa’s “current debacle pertaining to unemployment and inequality” has been “wrongfully placed and blamed on African brothers and sisters, and black people from the developing world.”
Also, the party upheld that the march against foreign nationals is “disingenuous ” and a platform to groom Black on Black violence.
To the Fighters, the failure of South Africa “ought to be put at the door of the ANC.
“The ANC has failed to transform the lives of South Africans. In the midst of attempting to confront economic strongholds against Black people, white monopoly capital has been left untouched,” EFF contended.