Xenophobia: ‘Visits to hot-spots helped avert catastrophe in KZN’

2011-09-15 00:00

A VISIT to areas affected by xenophobia by KwaZulu-Natal government officials and representatives of the KZN Refugees Council (KZNRC) at the height of the violent attacks of 2008 helped to minimise the effect of the scourge in the province.

So says Baruti Arrisi, head of the KZNRC, an organisation established by representatives of 23 African and Asian countries. He said visits to hot-spots during the 2008 violence averted a catastrophe and KZN was less affected by xenophobic violence as a result.

Arrisi was speaking during a gala dinner organised by Premier Zweli Mkhize in honour of African expatriates living in KZN under the banner of the South African Neighbouring Countries Development Aid.

Mkhize told the guests that the outbreak of xenophobic violence was an embarrassment for the country as most South Africans had been forced to seek refuge in different African countries during the struggle against apartheid.

“We have to look at where we come from and correct where we went wrong to avoid such embarrassing situations from occurring in the near future …They are contrary to our African belief in ubuntu, ” Mkhize said.

He attributed most of the tension that led to xenophobic violence to challenges caused by a shortage of resources and services.

The dinner was attended by the consul-generals of Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola.

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