COSATU to fight xenophobia

zwelinzima_vaviMIDRAND -- South Africas labour movement last week condemned xenophobic violence that affected the country last year and left more than 60 African immigrants dead and more than 200 000 others displaced. (Pictured: (COSATU) secretary general, Zwelinzima Vavi)

Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU) secretary general, Zwelinzima Vavi said such violence should never be allowed to happen again, and called for those who led last years xenophobic attacks to be brought to justice.

Vavi, who was speaking at COSATUs conference held last week in Midrand, near Johannesburg, said the attacks against African immigrants were particularly deplorable if one took into account how neighbouring countries and other African nations stood by South Africans as they fought apartheid.

The COSATU chief said: “We are Africa’s strongest economy because of these brothers and sisters from our continent. They provided us with shelter, food, clothes and healthcare during the days of our liberation struggle, yet we turn against them under violent xenophobic attacks.”

Vavi also called on local companies to desist from exploiting foreign nationals in their factories, where illegal immigrant workers are usually paid paltry salaries because they are unable to fight for better remuneration and working conditions.

With the World Cup finals next year, the COSATU said it plans to hold an all stakeholders conference on xenophobia in early 2010 to work out ways to curb victimisation of foreigners.

Hundreds of thousands of foreigners are expected to visit South Africa for the World Cup that will be taking place on African soil for the first time ever.

Mobs of South African men armed with machetes, axes, spears and guns attacked and killed immigrants in Johannesburg and other cities in an unprecedented wave of xenophobic violence that shocked South Africa, a nation that has sought to portray itself as among the most tolerant societies in the world.

Post published in: Politics

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