International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Police Minister Bheki Cele will urgently meet on Monday with Heads of the Diplomatic Missions in South Africa following reports of attacks on foreign nationals.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Sisulu expressed deep concern at the recent spate of violence and urged law enforcement officers to deal with the criminals leading the attacks.
During the attacks, which occurred in parts of Durban and Limpopo, foreign nationals were attacked, while their property and goods were looted and damaged. According to reports, approximately 100 unemployed South Africans went on the rampage, targeting foreign-owned shops.
Three people died on Monday morning – one, a woman, who fell through a roof whilst running away from protestors, and two allegedly shot by a shopkeeper.
By Tuesday morning about 50 foreigners sought refuge at a police station and mosque.
Distressed foreign nationals have sent messages to SAPeople, including this one from Kenya: “Why do you South Africans kill people that are foreigners?? What wrong have they done… Are you treated the same in other countries?? May God bring down South Africa… Let South Africa fall to its knees.”
Sisulu said the African continent had contributed and sacrificed a lot for South Africans to be liberated from the apartheid government.
“South African companies and our citizens are welcomed and loved across the continent. Here at home, we should do the same, we must embrace our neighbours and fellow South Africans,” Sisulu said.
The Minister said at international fora like the United Nations, African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African continent and all countries in the world looked to South Africa for leadership.
“South Africa has been supported by all African countries and many countries in the world to have a non-permanent seat in the UNSC. It is currently the Vice Chairperson of the AU and the Chair of AU in 2020. These responsibilities require that we must welcome and lead in building bridges between nations, particularly in SADC and the continent.
“All of us must stand up and send a strong message that violence, all criminal activities and looting of properties of foreign nationals will not be tolerated, and the police and other law enforcement agencies must act without fear or favour,” Sisulu said.
The meeting will focus on how ambassadors and government can work with communities and all stakeholders to foster integration in communities. – Sources include SAnews.gov.za