SOUTH Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) says it is hanging its head in shame in the face of “misguided” and “misplaced” xenophobic attacks against foreigners.
While appealing for calm to return, ANC sent condolence messages to the families of those who have lost their lives during this period of “unpardonable” acts of violence.
The xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu Natal targeted foreign nationals from Ethiopia, Somalia, Zimbabwe and other Africans doing small businesses in the coastal city.
ANC spokesman, Zizi Kodwa, said the nation has been engulfed in a shameful wave of attacks aimed against foreign nationals living in the country.
“The African National Congress is appealing to communities throughout the length and breadth of our country to desist from these barbaric acts which feed into a narrative of a violent society, devoid of revolutionary compassion to our fellow human beings.
“We are calling on leadership wherever they may be, as well as on our communities, to exercise maximum restraint and guard against instigating further violence. The law enforcement agencies must act without any fear or favor to halt this state of affairs and bring all transgressors to book.
” It is not the role of or communities to violently police the legality or lack thereof of those who reside amongst us. Government, including the South African Police Services, are dealing with these matters to find lasting solutions,” Kodwa said.
He said regardless of the cause of these barbaric deeds, ANC regarded them as criminal acts against vulnerable and defenseless people who have sought refuge, solace and economic prosperity in the country.
“Resolutely as a nation we must condemn in the gest possible terms attacks on anyone of the basis of their geographic origins.
“As we celebrate 21 years of freedom this month, we do so knowing that this freedom should be shared and owned by the peoples of Africa as whole many of whom come from countries who were nothing but friends to the South African people during our dark days of apartheid brutality. These unpardonable attacks against them are a shameful assault our very humanity,” Kodwa said.
He said the ruling party was aware of the concerns raised by local small business owners in particular as it related to what they perceived to be the negative consequences of the presence of immigrants in their communities.
“This is one of the reasons the ANC government established the Department of Small Business Development amongst other interventions to ensure focused attention on the pressing challenges facing this sector. Attacking our African compatriots will not resolve the problem.
“Long before the influx of people from other parts of Africa into South Africa, our country has battled with an unequal society as a legacy of our exclusionary and racist past. Immigrants are not the enemy. Their suffering too is as a result of our continent’s shared legacy of a colonial and apartheid past,” Kodwa said.
Hordes of foreign nationals were killed in KwaZulu Natal while more than 2000 others were displaced from their homes.
Source : CAJ News Agency