President Jacob Zuma had to scrap his scheduled trip to Indonesia to attend the Africa-Asia Summit in order to deal with the anti-foreigner attacks back home. The South African President was due to leave on Saturday for the summit but his office announced that Deputy President, Cyril Ramaposa would be attending the summit on the President’s behalf as he and his government grapple with the flare-up of the anti-foreigner demonstrations, which have so far claimed six lives according to local media.
Having cancelled his trip, Zuma travelled to the eastern port city of Durban, where he addressed a grouping of foreigners who were at a makeshift camp, having been displaced by the violence by the locals. On arrival, Zuma and his contingent were met with angry protests from the crowd of foreigners who shouted “go home, go home” and “too late, too late” in apparent reference to his arrival and in dealing with the situation which, they felt, was “too late”. Undaunted, Zuma went ahead and addressed the crowd stating that he was part of the many South Africans who wanted the foreigners to stay in the country and that it was only a few that were asking foreigners to leave the country. “As government, we’re not saying to you ‘go away’. It is not every South African who is saying ‘go away’. It is a very small number of people who say so,” Zuma said at Chatsworth camp. He went on to present a cheque of R50,000 to be used to help the victims of xenophobic victims.
President went on to call on all the churches in the country to pray for peace and friendship in the country as the violence against foreign nationals raged on. “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,” he added in a statement late Saturday. He went on to say that, if there are differences among the people, these should be solved in the South African way; through dialogue and not through violence and intimidation.