Lindiwe Sisulu, (Photo: Sarel van der Walt, Netwerk24)
International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has assured regional election observers that there is no need to worry about incidents of xenophobia in the run-up to the May 8 elections.
During a press briefing at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation's (Dirco) head office in Tshwane, Sisulu noted that the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional bloc, had launched its Electoral Observation Mission.
"We have noted some media reports that some members of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission feel reluctant to enter or visit some areas within the country," Sisulu said.
READ: KZN police await report into alleged xenophobic attacks in Durban
"In South Africa, we do not have no-go area zones. We have on a number of occasions stated that safety and security of everyone within the country is the responsibility of government. Therefore, there is no reason for such concern."
Sisulu also allayed xenophobia fears following the death of two foreign nationals in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in March.
The minister said that the incidents were criminal in nature, but had a xenophobic manifestation. She added that there were no incidents of xenophobia and that visitors should not be worried.
READ MORE: Dirco to urgently meet police minister, African ambassadors over KZN xenophobia
However, she cautioned that "criminal activities that may affect a foreign nation, just as it would a South African" one.
Sisulu also announced that efforts to establish a task team to deal with incidents relating to xenophobia were at an advanced stage. The decision to create such a team was taken after engagements between the government and members of the diplomatic corps.
"The task team will comprise Dirco, Home Affairs, police, DTI (The Department of Trade and Industry) and two members of the diplomatic corps."
"I have since written to the participating ministries to identify officials who will represent their departments in the task team. To this end, the task team is expected to have their inaugural meeting this coming Friday, 3 May 2019 to work on their terms of reference."
Find everything you need to know about the 2019 National and Provincial Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections. Make sure your News24 app is updated to access all our elections coverage in one place.
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