'Barbaric' xenophobic violence does not represent South Africans - Vavi

2015-04-20 16:48
Zwelinzima Vavi (File)

Zwelinzima Vavi (File)

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WATCH: UJ students protest against xenophobia

2015-04-20 14:16

Led by University of Johannesbrg Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Ihron Rensburg, students marched against xenophobia on Monday. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg - The xenophobic violence that has gripped the country did not represent the majority of South Africans, expelled Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Monday.

Addressing media ahead of the People's March Against Xenophobia planned for Thursday in Johannesburg, Vavi said South Africans needed to take a stand against the "barbaric" actions of a minority of people.

"Ours is not just going to be limited to the expression of the outrage and the condemnation of what we are witnessing in our country," he said.

"We need to take a stand. We need to communicate an unequivocal message that South Africa is not represented by that barbaric minority that is killing and looting."

"South Africa must stand up to represent a different picture to the world that has been [shown] in the recent period," he said.

'They do not represent South Africa'

He called on all trade unions, youth organisations, every religious organisation, every business person, every woman's organisation, every organisation that represented foreign nationals, and every person who loved "humanity and every person who has been disgusted by what is happening in our country in the past week" to express their collective outrage at the march.

"We are the children of Chief Albert Luthuli. We are the children of Nelson Mandela. The people who have been committing the murders do not represent our values... they do not represent the majority of South Africa," he said.

Earlier at the same news conference, Wits University Vice Chancellor Adam Habib said the xenophobic violence had made him ashamed to be a South African.

"This is a terribly sad moment. It's a tragic moment in our history. I've never been more ashamed of being South African and I think that is the collective feeling of many people in this room and many people in this country," Habib said.

"Clearly, for one of the first times in the post-1994 period, we have to hang our heads in shame, that we are capable... that we can be capable of doing what has happened to our brothers and sisters around the country."

'Why has no one been arrested?'

He criticised the government for taking as long as it had to condemn the violence, and urged police to arrest those responsible for murdering non-South Africans.

"I cannot understand why so many people have been killed. There have been so many photographs of the perpetrators who killed these people, yet no one has been arrested...it is unacceptable," he said.

"The full force of the law must be implemented [over] murders that have happened in our midst."

He said, from the university's standpoint, they abhorred what was happening, and that if any student or staff members was involved in any form of xenophobic activity, the full force of the disciplinary procedure would be implemented.

"We think its absolutely crucial that Johannesburg and Gauteng stands up as one... on Thursday, we should be standing as human beings, as we should stand as one and we should stand as part of a common humanity and we support all actions taken against those [perpetrating] xenophobic activity."

He said the university was looking into the possibility of allowing students to be absent on Thursday so they could participate in the march.

Read more on:    adam habib  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  johannesburg  |  xenophobia

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