Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has condemned the attacks on foreign nationals in KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg.
“This must stop because we cannot continue killing one another as Africans who belong to the same continent,” President Zuma said during an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Wednesday night.
President Zuma called for calm as the attacks on foreign nationals spread from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.
The attacks, which started last week, have resulted in the deaths of several people in the province.
The attacks have also spread to Gauteng, with an Ethiopian man allegedly being attacked on Wednesday in Johannesburg’s CBD.
“What is happening in our country is not acceptable. We condemn this… [as] people are being attacked and killed,” the President said.
President Zuma has assigned Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and State Security Minister David Mahlobo to work with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government to arrest the violence that has broken out in the province.
“Government is working hard to find a way where there will be co-existence without depriving people of certain opportunities.
“We cannot accept that when there are challenges we use violence, particularly on our brothers and sisters from the continent,” President Zuma said.
He reiterated that when South Africa was in trouble, other African countries assisted in the fight for liberation.
“They did not chase us away and therefore it is important for us to bear that in mind,” he said.
President Zuma conveyed his condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in the violence.
The attacks have resulted in foreign nationals being displaced in KwaZulu-Natal.
A provincial JOINTS Priority Committee has been activated to coordinate government departments in responding to these incidents of violence against foreign nationals in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
All district disaster management centres have been placed on high alert and a 24-hour call centre has been established.
Shelters have also been set up to accommodate displaced foreign nationals and basic amenities such as water, sanitation and healthcare.
Government is also working closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) as well as non-government organisations to provide food, psycho-social and other support to those affected.
On Tuesday, government said additional police officers had been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal to deal with the attacks on foreign nationals. – SAnews.gov.za