Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu on Thursday decried the recent spate of xenophobic attacks, saying those who target foreigners should not call themselves South African.
In a statement, Mchunu made a call for unity.
“Recent incidents where people attack others just because they do not look like them, and because they are not originally from South Africa cannot be condoned. We must all stand together and dissociate ourselves from people whose actions are xenophobic. We must reject the notion of violence and land invasion because we are in the country that is governed by the rule of law,” he said.
“I am very disappointed by the ill-treatment that has been meted to fellow human beings by people calling themselves South Africans. Even in our culture, we are encouraged to take care and treat foreigners well. I am sure that I am talking on behalf of the majority of people of KwaZulu-Natal who are ashamed by these evil acts. This hate of other fellow human beings has no place in our democratic province. There is no country that can remain alone as an island in this global village,” Mchunu added.
He said that the diplomatic consequences of attacks on foreigners were far-reaching.
“This wave of attacks on the foreigners which occasionally erupt in our province and our cities will have very serious diplomatic consequences for our province and our country. Our foreign policies must not only look at how we view the continent, but also on how we are viewed, and this can hit the province and the country where it hurts, economically.
“We might be perceived as intolerant to foreign nationals and therefore no one would like to do business with us. Our country has a very good legacy as a peaceful and sometimes a beacon of hope, but these sporadic acts are not doing us any favours. This legacy that has been built over decades by our liberation movements is in danger of being eroded,” he said.
Mchunu said that certain people were benefiting from sowing division.
“They are thriving on instilling fear to people in order to advance some narrow political agenda. On behalf of the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal and its people, I urge that all of us must act with restraint, respect the rule of law, and appreciate diversity and the plight of other fellow human beings, including foreign nationals. South Africa would not have achieved its freedom without the assistance of other countries,” he said.