Zuma responds to Couto's open letter

2015-04-24 18:04
President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS) (GCIS)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma on Friday responded to an open letter addressed to him by Mozambican writer Mia Couto, assuring him that the country was dealing with the spate of attacks on foreign nationals.

Couto penned an open letter to Zuma earlier this week - published on the Daily Maverick website - where he told the president that measures being taken to curb the attacks was inadequate and had come too late.

Read Couto's full letter here

The president and Couto had met in Mozambique in the 1980s, when Zuma was in exile.

In his letter of reply, Zuma said he had not forgotten the kindness the people of Mozambique had shown South African exiles during the apartheid regime.

"Mozambicans and South Africans, and also Frelimo and the ANC, enjoy deep bonds that go far back into our history. These are bonds created by our living together, our working together, and of our fighting together against colonialism and apartheid.

"South Africa has not changed and has not forgotten such comradeship and solidarity. But like most countries that have emerged from conflict, we have deep-seated challenges," said Zuma.

He said the country appreciated the contribution foreign nationals made to economic development, bringing in critical skills and adding to the diversity of the country.

However, there were some complaints or problems raised by citizens which needed to be addressed.

"These include the increasing number of illegal and undocumented immigrants in the country, the displacement of many local small traders by foreign nationals and that some of the migrant traders operate illegally.

"There are also accusations that foreign nationals commit crimes such as drug peddling and human trafficking, that they take the jobs of locals as employers prefer them as they are prepared to take lower wages and also complaints about free government housing that is secured by foreign nationals."

Attack on foreign nationals

Zuma said government had emphasised that none of the grievances justified any form of violence or attacks on foreign nationals and that it would not tolerate it.

He also pointed out that government was not saying all migrants were in the country illegally or involved in crime.

"The grievances of the South African population have to be balanced with the plight of many refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants from the continent and beyond.

"We, therefore, have a lot of work to do to find long-term solutions. We are already looking beyond the incidents of the past weeks," Zuma said.

He outlined some of the measures already put in place like the 14 member inter-ministerial task team looking into the broader management of migration.

"Drawing support from all sectors of society, they will help us address the underlying socio-economic causes of the tensions between citizens and brothers and sisters from the continent and from countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh to prevent another flare up of violence.

"We have already had consultations with all sectors in our country from business, labour, sports, religious leaders, youth, women, children's sectors and many others."

Zuma was meeting with organisations representing foreign nationals resident in the country at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria on Friday.

In his letter, Zuma said in the short-term government was importing the implementation of existing migration policy including tightening controls at the ports of entry and borders and ensuring that the law was followed. Government was also reviewing the existing migration policy.

"What also gives us strength as government, is that we are working with the full support of our peace-loving population. The peace and friendship marches that are being held throughout the country embody the South Africa we know and the South Africa we are proud of."

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  pretoria  |  xenophobia

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham

Here are just ten of our favourite plus-sized models:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.