Only Africans being attacked - Cosatu, SACP

2015-04-15 17:43
(Genevieve Quintal, News24)

(Genevieve Quintal, News24)

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Johannesburg - Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said on Wednesday that he did not want to refer to the attacks on foreign nationals around the country as xenophobia.

"If we say it is xenophobia, then it should be every foreigner, whether from Europe or Africa, should become a victim," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

"This is targeting Africans, this is targeting the shops of these African foreign nationals."

Cosatu and the SACP held a joint press briefing where they condemned the attacks on foreigners.

The two alliance partners called on their members to stand up and defend foreign nationals.

SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila said the attacks were part and parcel of "narrow nationalism" and was petty and unacceptable.

"The peculiarity is that this is focused on Africans living in poor communities... that is extremely worrying," he said.

"We are making a call to all our structures to go out in defence of foreign nationals in our country."

Defending foreign nationals was also defending South Africa's democracy, he said.

"Democracy can't be strong if undermined like this," Mapaila said.

Cosatu and the SACP also believed that employers, who they said were exploiting foreign nationals, were to blame.

"The big bosses... actually literally exchange the employment of South African labour with foreign labour in order to exploit foreign labour," Mapaila said.

In a joint statement, read out by acting general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali, Cosatu and SACP said these bosses needed to be held accountable.

"We call on the government to act decisively against sectors of the economy which super-exploit foreign nationals.

"All workers must be respected with equal rights independently of any nationality," Ntshalintshali said.

Read more on:    sacp  |  cosatu  |  johannesburg  |  xenophobia

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