ZAPU calls on SA to decisively deal with xenophobia.
Zimbabwe’s opposition Zapu political party has called upon the South African government to urgently intervene and stop the violence and looting of shops that has gripped the country since Sunday morning.
The violence, which came as the southern African country was on knife-edge following threats of a September 2 crackdown on migrants – widely-publicised during the past few weeks, began in Jeppestown Sunday morning and has been spreading to other parts of Gauteng, raising fears of the May 2008 xenophobic attacks that left at least 62 people dead, thousands displaced and property worth millions of rands destroyed.
Police, whose reaction has so far been widely commendable, said Tuesday morning they had the situation under control and promised to decisively deal with what they have termed “acts of criminality”. At least 100 suspects had been arrested by Tuesday for their part in the act.
Joining growing calls for a quick end to the wanton looting, Future Msebele – Zapu’s Johannesburg-based Deputy Secretary for International Relations, pleaded with South Africa to definitively act on the “unlawful, unprovoked and violent attacks on foreigners and looting of shops”.
“The government officials and security officials should act against this barbaric act first and will have ample time to characterize and define this form of violence. From where it stands, it is clear that this is xenophobia,” said Msebele during an interview with Southern Express.
“What we fail to understand is that the message calling for such attacks circulated in social media some weeks back and nothing was done by the security agents. The South African government should understand that what happens in one part of the continent has an effect on the rest of Africa.”
As a long-term solution to the intra-poor conflicts, Mr Msebele said South Africa should stop shielding authoritative regimes on the continent, as bad governance would continue to churn desperate migrants to its shores.
“The South African Government should play a pivotal role in denouncing authoritative regimes and dictatorships in the continent. As long as South Africa employs quiet diplomacy in solving conflicts in the continent, then we are likely to continue to see the influx of immigrants. It is time for South Africa to be bold and decisive in dealing with the conflicts on the continent, which are the source of immigration.”
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