Leaders called to unite against attacks on foreign nationals

Friday, April 17, 2015

Oudtshoorn – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on leaders from all sectors to unite and contribute to quelling violence against foreign nationals in their respective areas.

Addressing the National Council of Provinces’ People’s Parliament on Friday, the Deputy President condemned the attacks and the looting of shops belonging to foreign nationals, saying this was unacceptable.

His statement comes after President Jacob Zuma addressed the nation on Thursday and called for calm and an end to the violence.

“As President Zuma said in the National Assembly yesterday, these attacks are a violation not only of the rights of the individuals but also of the values and principles that define our democracy.

“We must act decisively to end such violence and work to ensure that it does not happen again in our country, in Mandela’s South Africa, in Oliver Tambo’s South Africa, in Walter Sisulu’s South Africa. This must not continue to happen.

“Those who perpetrate such violence and looting must face the full might of the law.”

The Deputy President said the acts, which led to a loss of lives, were criminal and at most, inhumane and do not belong in any society.

“We must condemn, in no uncertain terms, such behaviour without any hesitation.

“It is not acceptable that any one of us as South Africans can go out and attack people from other countries just because they come from other countries. It dehumanises us as South Africans.

“As we seek to dehumanise them, we are dehumanising ourselves. These people also have the same human rights that we have. They are also human beings like we are and these attacks must stop with immediate effect.

“The Freedom Charter says there shall be peace and friendship. It envisages South Africa to be at peace with the nations of the world in which the rights and freedoms of all the people who live in this country are protected.

“The attacks that we have witnessed in the past few days on foreign nationals that have taken place in various parts of our country are an [attack] on the aspirations of our forebears, who drafted our Freedom Charter,” he said.  

Deputy President Ramaphosa said government will, at the same time, take every available opportunity to engage with communities on any issues that may be seen to be the cause of such violent acts.

Violence is not the answer, the Deputy President said.

“At the same time, we must engage with communities where these incidents are taking place.

“If there are concerns, yes we must address those concerns. Where there is conflict, we must find peaceful solutions. We are children of peace, we are people who love peace and we must make sure that we act in a peaceful manner.

“We must build communities that are cohesive, communities that are inclusive and as public representatives, we must be at the forefront of such efforts. All leaders in our country are called upon to join this effort of making sure that all of us as South Africans respect one another. We respect foreign nationals and we must live up to the ideals of our Freedom Charter.”

Taking Parliament to the people

Meanwhile, the Deputy President commended the NCOP for taking Parliament to the people, saying that all public representatives would be nothing without the people.

He said the NCOP was a platform where public participation should always be a priority and that Members of Parliament (MPs) should strive to ensure that the interests and service delivery concerns of the people are escalated to hold those in power accountable.

The People’s Parliament, which was attended by public representatives from across different provinces and ordinary members of the public, was held in Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape since Monday.

The Deputy President said people always came first.

“We are nothing without you. You have made us what we are. We are part of you, and so we say thank you to everyone from the Klein Karoo who has made their way here,” he said.

He said as South Africa marks the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, a lot has been achieved to improve the lives of people but a lot more still needs to be done.

Government is working hard to ensure that service delivery improves through the “Back to Basics” strategy, which targets services such as housing, water and sanitation.

Deputy President Ramaphosa said Cabinet is working tirelessly to ensure that jobs are created and people can find employment over the next five years.

He said the NCOP “must ensure that the work of government is attuned to the grass roots concerns of our people”. – SAnews.gov.za