Xenophobic violence could spark more African boycotts of SA businesses - ADF

Johannesburg - The xenophobic violence taking place in South Africa possibly meant other African countries would boycott South African business interests across the continent, the Africa Diaspora Forum (ADF) said on Monday.

ADF representative Jean Pierre Lumumba, speaking to reporters in Johannesburg ahead of the People's March Against Xenophobia on Thursday, said: "We are not mourning Emmanuel Sithole. We are not mourning all the victims of the xenophobia. We are organising ourselves," he said.

"What we are seeing in South Africa today, we are seeing the victims of apartheid yesterday becoming the oppressors of people from Africa [today]."

He said that while the ADF had interacted with President Jacob Zuma as recently as January, the forum felt that if their warning had been taken seriously, they would not be meeting in Johannesburg on Monday talking about xenophobia.

"We receive many alerts that something can happen... and maybe we aren't taken seriously because we are migrants," Lumumba said.

"We told ourselves, let us mobilise, all South African society to mobilise... [we] want a sustainable solution to one of the causes, being South Africa's current socio-economic circumstances."

He said that if you felt you were an African, supported Africa and supported migrant businesses, they wanted to see you at the march on Thursday in Johannesburg.

"If we do not see you... you are xenophobic," he said.

Arrests

Earlier on Monday, Gauteng police said three people had been arrested in connection with the murder of Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole.

"The suspects were arrested in Alexandra with the help from the members of the community," spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini said.

"Several exhibits that may be used as evidence were seized during the arrests."

The group was arrested on Sunday evening.

The 35-year-old Sithole was stabbed in Alexandra on Saturday morning and later died in hospital.

The three are expected to appear in the Alexandra Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges of murder.

Dlamini said a manhunt for a fourth person was continuing.

On Sunday, Gauteng police announced a reward of up to R100 000 for information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of those who killed Sithole.

At least six people died last week and thousands were displaced as hostility between some locals and foreigners escalated in Durban and parts of Johannesburg.

Earliest reports show that the first sparks were at the end of March, when the Daily News reported that crisis talks had started in the province on March 31 after 170 foreigners were displaced, sleeping on police station lawns and in their cars.

This seemed to be as a result of anger over an Umlazi business firing staff and replacing them with foreign nationals.

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