SADC summit likely to tackle xenophobic attacks

2015-04-26 14:16


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Harare - An SADC summit in Harare this week will likely tackle the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, a government official was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Permanent secretary in Zimbabwe's ministry of foreign affairs Joey Bimha told the state-controlled Sunday Mail that the issue of xenophobia will likely come up "because it is the most topical subject affecting the region at the moment".

Ministers will begin meetings on Monday at the summit, which was officially called to discuss industrialisation. Heads of state will meet on Wednesday.

Bimha said that the ministers will likely come out with a resolution once they have discussed the matter.

The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper has predicted that President Jacob Zuma will have "a rough ride" at the summit when he is confronted by regional presidents whose nationals have been targeted in the attacks in parts of Durban and Johannesburg.

Police have confirmed the deaths of seven foreign nationals in the violence, including one Zimbabwean.

‘Show visitors some love’

There's been no word yet on funding for the summit following speculation Mugabe would ask Zuma for help during a state visit to South Africa earlier this month. Corporates and bankers in cash-strapped Zimbabwe are reported to have been asked to chip in with funds.

The Southern African Development Community summit is taking place at the same time as the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo and the Harare International Festival of the Arts. State media has urged Zimbabweans to pull together to "show the visitors some love."

The Sunday Mail said in an editorial: "Just like any other country, Zimbabwe has its problems but surely we can sort these problems on our own rather than fight in front of visitors."

Zimbabwe is facing renewed economic problems. Political violence flared this week when an opposition MP and 10 opposition supporters were attacked after a rally in the capital. The identity of the attackers is not known, though activists claim they were from the ruling party.

About 900 Zimbabweans repatriated

Zimbabwean Brighton Musonza said in a tweet: "SADC summit should tackle governance crisis to address economic woes brought about by unelected unpopular regimes."

Zimbabwe has repatriated around 900 of its citizens in the wake of the attacks, though others appear to be making their own way home independently.

The Sunday Mail carried an interview with a 42-year-old father of four, Moses Maringo, who fled xenophobic attacks in Durban. He claimed he fled his home after his Mozambican neighbour was murdered.

Maringo said that he slept outside for two nights before a friend paid for him and his wife to return to Harare on a private bus. He was "too frightened" to go to the local police station to register for transport provided by the Zimbabwe authorities, he said.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  jacob zuma  |  zimbabwe  |  xenophobia  |  southern africa

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