Nhleko brands xenophobic violence African ‘self-hate’

2015-04-14 15:00

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It is not necessary to call in the army to assist authorities in dealing with xenophobic violence that has taken grip in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, says Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko.

“The situation... has not come to that point to necessitate the point of army deployment,” he told reporters in Cape Town and Pretoria via video conference today.

“Government agencies have handled that situation relatively quite well in a sense [of] the collaborative effort.”

He said the current violence in KwaZulu-Natal was a complex matter.

“Firstly, some of us find it difficult to think that this is just xenophobic. I think it also represents a particular political problem. You don’t see Australians being chased on the street, you don’t see Britons being chased on the streets.”

In a sense what was being witnessed in KwaZulu-Natal represented a form of African “self-hate” he said.

Zimbabweans, Congolese, Malawians, Mozambicans, Somalis and Ethiopians were among the most notable nationalities being targeted.

“You are essentially dealing with an ideological problem that has to be tackled on all sorts of fronts and in this case you require a collaborative effort right across our society to fight off these kind of attitudes, and from within our society,” he said.

There were also other factors which needed to be considered, such as the criminal element, where criminals were using the cover of xenophobic attacks to raid shops and break the law.

“These particular activities need to stop and need to come to an end,” he said.

“We also need to interact among ourselves as South Africans on how we educate ourselves on matters of this particular nature.”

He said there was continuing analysis of what was happening, and this would be used to construct a fuller picture of how deep the problem of xenophobia and related factors were.

Earlier, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said government would take action against all criminals.

“As South Africans we should refuse to be part of the attacks on innocents just because they are foreigners,” she said.

“We are equally determined to take action against all foreign nationals who commit crimes in our country. Each and every person working and living in the country must obey the law of the country.”

She said it was also wrong to argue that crime was mainly committed by non-South Africans.

“A criminal is a criminal irrespective of nationality and [they] should be made to face the full might of the law,” she said.

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