Friendly matches to unite SA, neighbouring countries

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pretoria – The South African Football Association (Safa) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) are organising two international friendly matches against neighbouring countries to create unity in the wake of attacks on foreign nationals.

Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula has welcomed this initiative, urging all peace loving people to stand together against all forms of attacks on innocent people.

In the past few weeks, the country has been hit by acts of violence against foreign nationals. The attacks flared up in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to certain parts of Gauteng.

“[Attacks on foreign nationals] are wrong, it’s inhuman and it does not belong in South Africa or anywhere in the world. Just yesterday, we found refuge in other African countries when apartheid was in full force.

“Governments of other African countries gave us a home, fed us and most importantly helped in the liberation of all South Africans. Imagine if, when we were in pain, they told us to go home. The freedom we have today would have never been achieved,” Minister Mbalula said. 

The stance taken against violence against foreign nationals by the leadership, the teams and supporters in sport yet again signals the importance of sport in uniting people.

“Let us all unite in our diversity as the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa urges us to,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINT) is currently operating on a 24- hour basis and various government departments and agencies are working tirelessly in an integrated manner to ensure that the attacks are brought to an end as soon as possible. 

All law enforcement operations are being coordinated via this structure. -