Musina a model of how to integrate foreign nationals - Minister

Friday, April 24, 2015

Beitbridge – Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has lauded the town of Musina as a good example of how to integrate foreign nationals into communities.

The town of Musina, situated near the Beitbridge Border post with Zimbabwe, sees numerous foreign nationals crossing the border but since its establishment in 1905 there have been no incidents of attacks against foreign nationals.

The foreign nationals are mostly from neighbouring Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Ethiopia, to mention a few.

“I bow my head in admiration to the people of Musina and of Limpopo. It is worth highlighting that for many years residents of Musina have lived side by side with foreign nationals in peace and harmony.

“Let me express my profound appreciation to the people of Musina and Limpopo for showing us how to live together with others in an atmosphere of peace and tolerance. Musina is home to one of the busiest ports of entry into South Africa, yet has not recorded a single incident.

“I have no doubt that South Africans can learn lessons from the people of Musina on the integration of foreign nationals into our communities,” she said.

Minister Muthambi visited Musina on Friday to take forward the message that government and the country stand against violence aimed at foreign nationals.

In the morning, the Minister visited the busy Beitbridge border, where she told both locals and foreign nations that “we are all Africans”.

She said the valuable lessons she learned through her interactions with the community will inform government’s ongoing plans to deal with issues in a holistic manner.

Addressing those gathered, Minister Muthambi said the despicable attacks on foreign nationals only occurred in isolated pockets in KwaZulu-Natal and in certain parts of Gauteng.

“They did not spread because ordinary South Africans stood up in every corner of our great nation and declared: ‘Not in our Name!’

“Government will not tolerate attacks on foreign nationals in our country. We dare not lose our Ubuntu (humanity) and attack our fellow African brothers and sisters and other foreign nationals,” she said.

On Thursday, residents of Musina stood up and condemned the attacks on foreign nationals during a public prayer and awareness campaign led by the Musina Local Municipality.

In the past few days calm has been restored and the South African Police Service and other law enforcement agencies continue to work to bring the situation under control.

“Several people involved in the violence have been arrested and I am confident that the law will take its course in this regard.”

While in a few days the country will commemorate Freedom Day in celebration of the liberation of the country from apartheid, Minister Muthambi said 21 years after democracy, it is easy for some to forget that the freedom was not free.

“It required untold sacrifice by countless patriots in South Africa and on the continent. Indeed, our nation still owes a debt to our African brothers and sisters who supported our historic fight for freedom and justice and who hosted us in our hour of greatest need.

“Our bonds are also not just historic. To this day, the link between South Africa and the continent remains strong. South Africa has long standing relationships with a number of neighbouring countries from whom we procure electricity, and water.

“Our businesses are active on the continent and partnerships create jobs and boost our own economy. Our future is thus intertwined with that of the continent,” she said.

President Jacob Zuma has appointed the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Migration which in the coming weeks and months will tackle various aspects related to migration, including social, economic and security aspects.

Representing the South African Youth Council in Musina, Dominic Nkwana, said: “South Africans struggled both politically and economically and at the time we needed other neighbouring countries to be part of our struggle which they did.

"So I don’t see any tolerance in terms of treating a brother from another mother (another country) as an animal, to me that is fallacy and it is something that I cannot tolerate young people to relate too.

“At this town, we are living peacefully with everyone, we don’t care which language they speak or which part of the continent the come from, to us, there is no border for all Africans in our continent, we are appealing to those who are mistreating their fellow brothers to know that they are creating a very bad image of this country.” -