Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, Thulani Nzima has condemned the xenophobic attacks that took place in the various locations in South Africa and apologised on behalf of his country.
He has also encouraged delegates from different African countries to attend the Pan-African Trade Show, INDABA, scheduled to take place in Durban between 9 and 11 May 2015.
“It is with embarrassment and shame that I come before the world and especially my fellow Africans to apologise for these senseless attacks. I hold in contempt the loathing and subsequent attacks suffered by our brothers and sisters from the continent,” Nzima said.
The South African Tourism boss said “what we have witnessed in some parts of our country goes against the grain of who we are as a people, our constitution, and the principles of Ubuntu that we so dearly adhere to. I personally extend my sincerest apologies to you.
“As my colleagues and I prepare for our Pan-African Trade Show, INDABA, from 9 to 11 May 2015, in the city of Durban, we wish to reassure all INDABA delegates and foreign nationals coming into South Africa that our country is safe for you to visit.
“We do not take for granted the support we have enjoyed over the years from our brothers and sisters throughout the continent in contributing to the growth of tourism into our country.
“We are also appreciative of the backing of our counterparts on the continent who have ensured that our flagship Trade Shows, INDABA and Meetings Africa, have grown in stature in the years they have been in existence.”
He said President Jacob Zuma has assigned the South African Ministers of Home Affairs, Police, State Security to work with provinces affected to contain the violence.
“Additional law enforcement officers have been mobilised from around the country and deployed to the affected areas to enforce the law and prevent further attacks. Since Monday morning 310 suspects have been arrested. All district disaster management centres have been placed on high-alert and a 24-hour call centre has been established. Shelters have been set-up to accommodate displaced foreign nationals and basic amenities such as water, sanitation, and healthcare are being provided.
“Government is working closely with the UNHCR, UNICEF as well as non-governmental organisations to provide food, psycho-social and other support to those affected. The process of reintegrating those who were displaced back into their communities has begun. Community engagements are being conducted through the Communities in Dialogue programme, Community Safety Forums, Ward Committees and through Community Development Workers, amongst others.
“The South African Constitution protects the rights of all people living within the country, South Africans and foreigners alike and everything is being done within the law to ensure safety of all citizens and foreign nationals irrespective of their status.
“On behalf of South African Tourism, please accept our sincerest apologies during this time as we extend our hand of friendship to you. Please be rest assured that South Africa remains a welcoming destination filled with warm people.”
Recall that the Xenophobic attack against immigrants started in Durban, the venue of INDABA, few hours after the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini called foreigners in the country “lice”, and asked them to “pack their belongings and go back to their countries.”
Meanwhile South African National Parks has announced that they have already had a number of booking cancellations from neighbouring countries.
According to press statement by the authorities of the Park, “A large proportion of guests to our national parks are international visitors and we appear to be sending a message that foreigners are not welcome in our country”.
Apart from booking cancellations, SANParks also noted that the occurrence of xenophobia has the potential to undo years of successful work done in the establishment of Tran frontier Conservation Areas (TFCA), managed as part of cross border relationships in research, tourism, cultural heritage, science and conservation.
Source : The Guardian