Zuma cancels state visit to focus on govt response to xenophobic attacks

2015-04-18 14:26

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The diplomatic crisis that has resulted in some African countries threatening to shut down South African businesses as a result of the xenophobic attacks forced President Jacob Zuma to cancel a state visit to Indonesia.

Zuma was scheduled to leave tonight to attend the Africa-Asia Summit but called off his trip to oversee South Africa’s response to the attacks which have left six people dead since they erupted in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal two weeks ago.

Zuma, instead, sent his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa to attend the summit, a move observers viewed as the right thing to do as the condemnation of government’s uneven response grew this week.

In a bid to put an end to the ongoing violence, Zuma will hold various meetings in an outreach programme with ministers and other stakeholders next week, said his spokesperson, Mac Maharaj.

“The meetings will be focused on strengthening the existing support for peace and peaceful co-existence among all peace loving South Africans while also listening to concerns being raised by some communities,” said Maharaj.

Zuma’s strong condemnation of the attacks in a speech in Parliament this week seemed to fall on deaf ears as xenophobic clashes continued between foreign nationals and locals in Joburg.

Zuma is scheduled to visit displaced foreign nationals in Chatsworth, Durban, this afternoon to reassure foreign nationals that his government would do everything to protect them and end the violence.

“The President once again expresses his condemnation of the attacks on foreign nationals and has urged the police to continue working round the clock to protect communities and bring perpetrators to book,” said Maharaj.

In a statement issued by the presidency, Zuma reiterated government’s condemnation that there was nothing to justify attacks on foreign nationals.

“These attacks go against everything we believe in. The majority of South Africans love peace and good relations with their brothers and sisters in the continent. We will engage stakeholders next week as we need all leaders to work together to bring the situation to normality. Working together we will be able to overcome this challenge,” said Zuma.

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