Stop the killing - Zuma

2015-04-15 21:06
President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma called for an end to the killing linked to the xenophobic attacks on Wednesday that has left five people dead in the Durban area, and put parts of Johannesburg on edge.

''I think this now must stop, because we cannot continue killing one another," said Zuma in a pre-recorded message broadcast countrywide on public radio and television channels from Wednesday afternoon.

"What is happening in our country is not acceptable," said Zuma on the SABC Afrikaans news.

"'We condemn this that people are attacked, and killed,

As his pre-recorded message was playing, Johannesburg's metro police and SA Police Service officers were in a joint operations positioned near hostels south east of Johannesburg and in other hot spots around the city, after bricks were thrown at an Ethiopian man, passing motorists’ cars were stoned and many shops in the CBD were shuttered.

In Durban and surrounds, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said as many as 800 police officers were fanned around trouble spots in the province, which included Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Isipingo after the five deaths, as well as looting.

Thousands of foreigners have been evacuated to safety in KwaZulu-Natal and on Wednesday said they were living in difficult conditions, with one man in Isipingo saying up to 70 men were living in one tent.

Zuma continued: "We cannot accept that when there are challenges, we then use violence, particularly to our brothers and sisters from the continent. We have said before, that when we were in trouble, they helped us to fight our own liberation. They did not chase us away. And, therefore, it is important for us to bear that in mind."

He said government was aware of the "frustrations" people in South Africa had been voicing.

''Perhaps as government we have not been very quick in addressing these issues.''

He had asked three ministers to address the "issue'' and to find ways of avoiding friction so that people would not take their frustrations out on foreigners.

Finding a way to ‘co-exist’

He conveyed his condolences to the victims of xenophobia, and to those who had lost their loved ones.

''As Africans, as people who are belonging to the same continent we need to find a way and the government is working hard to find a way where there will be co-existence, properly without depriving people of certain opportunities, these matters must be discussed properly.

''We have seen the anger, we accept that people are frustrated, we are calling for calm, that we should solve these problems."

KwaZulu-Natal police said earlier almost 80 people had been arrested in the violence so far.

The province's Premier Senzo Mchunu said: “There are incidences of criminality which involve foreign nationals and there have been arrests. We have also found that there is animosity of foreigners owning businesses in the community and people start to wonder how they succeed when they have not succeeded.

Zuma’s own son Edward has been accused of fanning flames of xenophobia with comments such as: “We accept foreign nationals that are in the country legally and contributing to the South African economy with their skills. But, we do not accept foreign nationals that shoot our mothers and sisters''.

Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said on Wednesday evening after Zuma's comments that the joint deployment in the CBD would be to prevent any possibility of attacks on foreigners.

''Any form of violence directed at any member of the community will not be tolerated,'' he said.

The safety and wellbeing of all in South Africa would be upheld.

State Security Minister David Mahlobo said: ''Don’t let people use our name to commit criminal acts in our country, whether you are South African or a foreign national. We have heard that local traders say that foreigners are taking their jobs. We want to tell you that we are on top of the situation, we know that we are dealing with a big problem.''


Read more on:    police  |  jacob zuma  |  durban  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  xenophobia

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