SA to act on new threats of xenophobia

South Africans recently went on violent demonstrations and attacked foreign shop owners in Pretoria, most of them Somalis, Pakistanis and Zimbabweans in Attridgeville.

In Alexandra, locals are distributing notices threatening foreigners who occupy houses built under the government’s Reconstruction and Development Programme meant to provide cheaper housing for the poor.

A notice headlined “Foreigners in RDP Houses”, which was shown to The Zimbabwean and said to be sanctioned by local community leaders, read, “You are notified to vacate these RDP houses within seven days because you are not citizens of this country by birth or creed, you are violating our right to own our RDP houses, you are giving corruption on housing a big boost financially, you are crippling our economy by allowing cheap labour practice.

“The residents of Alexandra don’t want to revoke (sic) xenophobia on you unless you give cause to do so. We demand that you vacate at your own free will without being pushed like animals or aliens.”

Most foreign nationals who occupy RDP houses bought them from locals who had received them from the government and extended them.

Gauteng Economic Development Member of Executive Council, Qedani Mahlangu, recently condemned the on-going attacks, which had at the time of going to print seen several foreign-owned businesses looted and destroyed, while one woman was shot dead.

Mahlangu called on communities to unite and isolate those responsible for the acts of violence and looting, which she said undermined the rule of law.

She said that instead of engaging in acts of violence and attacking those who made an honest living, communities should rather invest their energies to enhance the spirit of entrepreneurship in the townships.

“These acts are an embarrassment to the country as they achieve nothing but advance the narrow interest of those masquerading as business people,” said Mahlangu.

“We should all condemn this behaviour and I want to urge that those responsible for these barbaric acts face the full might of the law. We also send our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased and hope that the perpetrators will be found and brought to justice.”

She urged the public to co-operate with police in identifying and reporting anyone engaging in such criminal acts.

Post published in: Africa News

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