Pretoria – The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu called on all people to unite and act against xenophobic attacks.
She met with Minister of Police Bheki Cele and heads of the diplomatic missions representing African countries in South Africa at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation following reports of the recent attacks on foreign nationals.
Last week, at least 100 foreign nationals where attacked and left homeless in KwaZulu-Natal after they were forced out of their homes and left with no place to sleep.
The next morning, a smaller group of foreign nationals were attacked in Durban and ended up seeking shelter at Jafhu Place informal settlement in Springfield Park. There have also been reports of similar attacks in Limpopo.
Since then, many South Africans took to Twitter to condemn the attacks on fellow Africans. Some felt xenophobia showed that Africans did not love and embrace each other enough.
Sisulu, at a briefing, said what happened over the weekend was a criminal act and that the department was doing everything in its powers to deal with it.
She said she’d meet again with Cele and the ambassadors of different nations on Friday once all the facts have been gathered.
Sisulu also added that a representative from Tanzania highlighted the importance of South Africa communicating to the world the fact that most of what is put out on social media was untrue.
Meanwhile, political party leaders such as the EFF’s Julius Malema and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa condemned attacks on foreign nationals and called on citizens to refrain from this behaviour and rather recognise that Africans are one.
This however did little to allay the fears of some foreign nationals running spaza shops in Pretoria, who said they feared politicians speaking about xenophobia as this only could further fuel attacks.