South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally broken the long silence which prompted ”hashtag DearMrPresident” trending on Twitter following the attack and looting of businesses belonging to foreign nationals in Gauteng.
The President in clear words warned that attacking foreigners would results in South Africans working in other countries being attacked too.
“There is no justification to attack people from other countries. We need to act in a way we give respect to people from other countries, and we need to deal with our own problems and discuss issues. We cannot accept that South Africans don’t welcome other people from other countries, there is no way we can do that” he said on a live speech on SABC Tuesday.
Ramaphosa said the country was completely committed against xenophobia. In the past few months, Republic of South African government has faced criticism for failing to acknowledge that attacks on foreign nationals amounted to xenophobia.
Rather, several ministers refers to the attacks as criminality and lawlessness.
“We are part of the Africa free trade and if this kind of act continues our drivers will be afraid to drive into our country. There is no justification to blame foreigners for lack of jobs in our country. This must be stopped.” he added.
President Ramaphosa said the attacks and looting is against what South Africa stands for.
“… And there can be no justification whatsoever about what people are aggrieved over that they should go out and attack people from other countries. Because when they do so here, they should know that fellow South Africans will be attacked in other countries. The attacks on people who run businesses from foreign nationals is something totally unacceptable. It’s something that we cannot allow to happen in South Africa.”
Meanwhile, South Africa has been condemned by the Nigerian government and the African Union (AU).
The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa ambassador Kabiru Bala offered safety to Nigerians in the country through a statement on Tuesday in part, “arduous task of engaging the South African government through diplomatic channels to bring the situation under control and to restore normalcy.”
The African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said he was encouraged by arrests made by South African security authorities.
“We call for further immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts and that justice be done to those who suffered economic and other losses,” Mahamat said in a statement.
So far, there has been looting report in a number of areas in Gauteng, including Jeppestown, Malvern, Alexandra, Ekurhuleni and Sunnyside in Pretoria.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele described the situation in the Johannesburg CBD as a national emergency, assuring that more police officers would be deployed to deal with the situations.