An Independent Electoral Officer begins to count the ballot papers after voting ended at the sixth national general elections. (RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP)
Elections 2019 has been free of any incidents of xenophobia, International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu confirmed to News24 on Thursday.
Speaking at the Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC) results operation centre (ROC) in Tshwane, Sisulu said she was overwhelmingly pleased that there were no incidents of xenophobia in the run up to and on election day itself.
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She said election observers had raised the issue of xenophobia, indicating that is was a serious index which the country is measured by internationally.
During a media briefing in April, Sisulu allayed fears of xenophobia following the death of two foreigners in KwaZulu-Natal in March.
"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 at the time.
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"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."
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.
However, she cautioned that criminal activities may affect a foreign national, just as it would affect a South African.