Govt ignoring xenophobia, says ADF

2015-01-25 11:08
(Werner Beukes, Sapa)

(Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Government continues to deny that there is xenophobia in South Africa, the African Diaspora Forum (ADF) wrote in an open letter to President Jacob Zuma.

"Despite the escalation of violence over the past 6 years causing numerous deaths, the government has denied that there is xenophobia... always questioning the nature of this violence and attributing it to ‘crime’, instead of recognising it for what it is - xenophobic violence," ADF chairperson Marc Gbaffou said in the letter received on Sunday.

"This attitude, from our perspective, has condoned the violence and allowed it to reach institutional heights making things even more difficult for foreign nationals living in South Africa, but also for South Africans wishing for social peace and integration."

The letter, dated 24 January, was also addressed to Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko.

Unrest and looting

This week saw unrest and looting of foreign-owned shops in Soweto, which began on Monday when a foreign shop owner allegedly shot dead a 14-year-old boy who he believed was trying to forcefully gain entry to his shop.

The looting had spread to Diepsloot in the north of Johannesburg and Kagiso on the West Rand.

The ADF is leading a march for social cohesion in Yeoville, Johannesburg, on Sunday following the looting and the deaths.

In its letter the ADF made a number of requests to government.

It wanted government to strongly and unequivocally condemn xenophobic violence in all its forms and wanted public officials and politicians making xenophobic statements to be held accountable.

ADF also wanted government to focus on combating crime for social cohesion through job creation but also allow migrants to contribute in the formal and informal sector.

In its letter it called for reconsideration of migration policy, which would stop criminalising foreigners.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  malusi gigaba  |  soweto  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  soweto unrest
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