Watch what you say, Malusi Gigaba warns leaders

2015-04-11 09:53

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Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has warned leaders to refrain from making statements which could be wrongfully interpreted as instigating or condoning attacks on foreigners.

“Leaders in our country have a responsibility to use their words to build and not to destroy. We need to take a very firm view about uttering statements which could result in violence, physical attacks on others and a loss of life or damage to property,” Gigaba said to displaced foreigners at the Westcliffe Sports Ground in Chatsworth, Durban, yesterday.

“Now is the time to demonstrate to others that South Africa is not against Africans, that South Africans are not xenophobic or Afrophobic and that we are in solidarity with our fellow African brothers and sisters who are here as asylum seekers and refugees …”

There have been a spate of xenophobic attacks in the province and the government has condemned the attacks on foreigners.

More than 3 000 foreign nationals from Mozambique, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo were placed on the sports field after they had been chased away from their communities. Police are guarding the camp.

“I want to reassure you that what happened was not planned, it was not instigated by the government and does not enjoy the support of the South African government. If anything, the South African government and President Jacob Zuma himself does not condone any attack on any person, particularly foreign nationals that live among us as South Africans.

“We hold a very firm view that every human being regardless of their nationality or country of origin enjoys the same human rights enshrined in the South African Constitution,” said Gigaba.

A meeting will be held in Bottlebrush today to engage with the community.

“We would like to see you back at your places of residence and occupying your homes and reintegrated into your communities so that you can carry on with your lives and ensure that when schools open, your children can go back to school.

“We also want to assure you that our responsibility for you goes far beyond this camp where you are currently placed. We are in discussions with your embassies about your situation and have reassured them of our commitment to ensure your safety as well as your safe return back to your houses and your communities,” said Gigaba.

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