Following unrests in which foreign nationals were attacked and assaulted by local people in the current spate of xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal, some government officials have condemned these attacks and called on local people to desist from these attacks.
Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba visited the scenes where some foreign nationals were attacked. He visited the areas of Kwamakhutha and Isipingo outside Durban in Kwazulu-Natal, where shops owned by foreign nationals were looted and the owners attacked by locals. In addition, locals who were working in the shops and businesses owned by foreign nationals complained that they were attacked by the looters. These incidents occurred only days after some foreign nationals failed to stage a march to the Durban City Hall to raise concern over the attacks on them. It is also reported that hundreds of foreign nationals were being accommodated at the sports complex and police stations. These nationals were running away from their shops and homes where they were being attacked.
In another part of the country, President Jacob Zuma is reported to have condemned these attacks and called on South Africans to stop attacking foreigners and their businesses. “We would like to correct the perception that all foreign nationals or persons born outside South Africa who live in our country, are in South Africa illegally,” Zuma said. He was speaking to guests who had gathered at a function of the unveiling of a memorial of apartheid activist, Chris Hani in Boksburg. He added that while it was true that a large number of foreign nationals were in the country illegally, there were quite a number of foreign nationals who were in the country legally and were contributing to the development of the country. He said, “However, many foreign nationals live in South Africa legally and contribute to the life and success of the country. Many are recruited to bring much-needed skills that are scarce in our country that we need to develop our economy.”
He added that they, as government, were in the process of working at dealing with the problem of those foreign nationals who were living and trading in the country illegally.” Government is attending to that problem and will ensure that no-one lives in our country illegally,” he told those gathered for the memorial service.