Xenophobia: Zimbabwe ruling party calls on South Africa to act

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HARARE – The Zimbabwe ruling party Zanu-PF has called on the South African leadership to act on the Xenophobic attacks that have rocked the country as their continued silence could be misconstrued as an endorsement of the “heinous” acts.

South Africa has been hit by an outbreak of xenophobic violence in its biggest city, attracting criticism from other African nations in the week political and business leaders from at least 28 countries gather in Cape Town.

The party’s youth league head of administration Tendai Chirau said Xenophobia is archaic and has no place in a progressive society.

“Xenophobia is archaic and has no place in a progressive world. The leadership of South Africa must not remain silent while Africans are being maimed. The silence on the part of the South African leadership maybe misconstrued as an endorsement of the heinous act,” said Chirau.

His deputy Mabutho Moyo said it was sad that the South Africans were misdirecting their anger.

“They are burning and killing fellow Africans yet the real thieves who stole their land and ideological existence are still bossing them in their own Country. Xenophobia is nothing but cowardice. We are Africans where we disagree let’s sit and talk,” said Moyo in a Twitter posted where he tagged South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.

Millions of Zimbabweans have crossed the border to South Africa at the turn of the millennium seeking better fortunes after the former British colony experienced and economic collapse.

A spate of violence that broke out in suburbs south of Johannesburg’s city center on Sunday and spread to the central business district on Monday saw the destruction of more than 50 mainly foreign-owned shops and business premises. Cars and properties were torched and widespread looting took place.

The attacks come ahead of the beginning of the African edition of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town on Sept. 4 and before a state visit to South Africa by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, a country whose nationals have been affected, next month.

“The continuing attacks on Nigerian nationals and businesses in South Africa are unacceptable,” the government of Nigeria said on Twitter. “Enough is enough. Nigeria will take definitive measures to ensure safety and protection of her citizens.”

The violence echoes sporadic outbreaks of attacks mainly targeting migrants from other African countries in some of South Africa’s poorest areas. In 2008 about 60 people were killed and over 50,000 forced from their homes and in 2015 seven people died in violence. Migrants are seen as competition for scarce jobs and government services.

Other Nigerian politicians, including former presidential election candidate Oby Ezekwesili called for stronger intervention by the government.

Oby Ezekwesili


Dear President @MBuhari and @NigeriaGov , it is time to take decisive actions to protect our Citizens in South Africa. The maiming and killings have gone on for too long without effective response. The bilateral relations with South Africa is troubled. It is time to be CANDID.

Zambia warned its truck drivers, many of whom drive goods south to the South African port of Durban, to stay out of the country.

South African politicians condemned the violence, in which one person was shot dead, according to eNCA, a local television station. At least 41 people were arrested.

Looters take items from an alleged foreign-owned shop in Johannesburg suburb of Turffontein on Sept. 2, 2019. Photographer: Guillem Sartorio/AFP/Getty Images

Still, politicians from the ruling African National Congress have in the past made anti-immigrant comments and Johannesburg’s mayor, Herman Mashaba, has attracted criticism from human rights groups for his frequent attacks on undocumented migrants. Mashaba is a member of the opposition Democratic Alliance.

The violence is “unacceptable,” Ace Magashule, the secretary-general of the ANC, said in remarks broadcast on television.

“We condemn this violence which is taking place, irrespective of whatever reasons people want to give,” he said.