SA assures Zimbabwe on xenophobia

nathi_mthethwa.jpegHARARE - Zimbabwe's Ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, has assured Zimbabweans in South Africa that government has obtained assurances that any attempts at re-igniting xenophobia will be dealt with harshly by the neighbouring country's authorities.(Pictured:

Khaya Moyo, who is also Zanu( PF) national chairman, spoke as a Zimbabwean national, Reason Wandi, on July 6 was thrown from a moving train by passengers and suffered serious injuries.

Earlier, a Somali trader had been murdered in Cape Towns Khayelitsha suburb.

The injured Zimbabwean told local media that just before the attack, They (passengers) said, they must go back home to their countries, makwerekweres. Makwerekwere is a derogatory word for foreign black Africans. It constitutes a serious insult.

Khaya Moyo said: Zimbabweans should not be afraid of these xenophobia threats as the government is in touch with the South African authorities, who have since set up an inter-ministerial taskforce to investigate the issue and come up with measure to deal with the problem if it occurs.

South Africas Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who chairs the inter-ministerial committee on xenophobia, said state agencies were on “high alert” and ready to take steps to quell any xenophobic violence or criminal acts.

He added that law enforcement agencies would monitor the threats and if they were found to be credible, preventative measures would be put in place immediately.

Khaya Moyo expressed fear that there may be some hidden hand trying to stir up trouble after the World Cup to destroy the image of Africa and South Africa in particular.

Border officials said there was a marked increased return of Zimbabweans most of them fleeing South Africa to their country in fear of the attacks.

But the Secretary General of the South African Council of Churches Eddie Makue said the situation on the ground showed that the threats of xenophobic attack were real and not just rumour. There are very clear indications that the possibility of attacks happening is great, he said.

Elinor Sisulu, a human rights activist also denied the threats were just rumours.

How can it be a rumour when someone is being thrown out of the moving train, beaten in the bus and some shops being burnt. It is dangerous when people start getting into tarnishing the image of our own country.

She called on the government of South Africa to be serious in protecting and defending the vulnerable foreigners.

Central Methodist Church Bishop Paul Verryn blamed xenophobia on apartheid.

Apartheid reduced us to a pariah state such that foreigners are seen as being intrusive. There was no proper healing after the death of apartheid. Look at the way policemen stop and ask for the identity documents from the foreigners. It is the same way apartheid policemen used to ask some blacks in Johannesburg arrest and sent them back to Transkei.

Warren Viljeon from Human rights Network of South Africa said non-governmental organisations had agreed to establish a hot line, to assess and disseminate information.

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