Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has called on all churches to lead the nation in praying for peace and friendship in the wake of violence against foreign nationals occurring in some parts of the country.
The President said the majority of South Africans believe in peace, unity and friendship and have nothing to do with the incidents of violence that have taken place.
"We humbly request our religious leaders nationwide to send out a message of peace and friendship to all our people. South Africans have lived in peace with foreign nationals for years. We know that the majority of our people believe in human rights and peace and that they respect the dignity of all who live in our country.
“They know that where there are concerns and differences, these should be resolved the South African way through dialogue and not through violence and intimidation. We will work with all peace loving South Africans and foreign nationals to promote peaceful co-existence, solidarity and friendship," said the President.
The President cancelled his visit to Indonesia in order to lead the nation in promoting peace, unity and togetherness among South Africans and foreign nationals.
On Saturday he visited displaced foreign nationals in Chatsworth and also the community of Umlazi in Durban.
North West, Gauteng heed the call
Meanwhile, the Mafikeng Ministers Fellowship (MMF) in the North West has welcomed the President’s call on religious leaders to pray for peace.
"We support the call by President Zuma as it is in line with our earlier call for churches to dedicate prayers against [the attacks] in their weekend services," chairperson of the MMF Apostle Zandisile Reginald Mpame said.
Mpame said the President’s decision to cancel his state visit to Indonesia has demonstrated his leadership and commitment to deal with the challenge facing the country.
The President will instead be represented by his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa in Indonesia.
Mpame said South Africans of all faiths must unite in prayers of repentance for the atrocities that were committed against fellow Africans.
"Focusing on the urgent intervention to stamp lawlessness and criminality will give impetus to rolling back intolerance and addressing the underlying social and economic challenges that lead to fear, hopelessness and anger," he said.
The MMF said that perpetrators of the brutality against foreign nationals must be brought to book.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura will attend a prayer service led by Bishop DK Adams of the Church of Johannesburg Harvest Time.
The service will be attended by members of the Muslim faith, community based structures and other church leaders.
Campaign against Afrophobia
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko will today launch the Campaign against Afrophobia in Durban.
The campaign is a long term sustainable response focused on behavioural change. Its objectives are to combat Afrophobia through celebrating diversity and embracing differences, create a new generation of Africans free of Afrophobia and develop empathy through public education.
The campaign is being championed by the Police Ministry through the Civilian Secretariat for Police and includes other civic organisations.
The Ministers State Security David Mahlobo, Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba and Police Nathi Nhleko will brief the media at 11am on the latest developments to address the attacks on foreign nationals. – SAnews.gov.za