Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Buti Manamela, says the recent looting of shops mainly owned by foreign nationals in Soweto was not xenophobic, but a criminal activity by young people.
“Everybody says what happened in the past few days at this township was xenophobic attacks, … I do not think it was that… it is what it is… it is young people who decided to commit crime in their own communities,” he said.
Deputy Minister Manamela, who is responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Youth Development and Administration, was speaking at the Rhema Church in Soweto on Sunday as part of his consultation on the draft National Youth Policy 2020 he launched a week ago.
The looting of shops in Soweto was fuelled by the death of a 14-year-boy who was shot and killed by a Somali shopkeeper at the township.
While he also agreed that there are attacks on people from other countries, he warned that if such illegal acts are not stopped very soon, there would be an outbreak of tribalism in the country.
“Once we turn on other Africans, because they are not from within our borders, when we’ve chased them away, the next thing to happen is that you will be looking at your neighbour and saying this one is a Muvenda, he must go back to Venda, this one is a Xhosa, he must go back to Pondoland, this one is a Sotho, he must go back to Lesotho.
“We must stand up against those who see others as sub-humans, because those who commit such crimes will be coming for you and me,” he said.
Speaking about foreign nationals who come to South Africa seeking political asylum, Deputy Minister Manamela said: “Sometimes, people come to our country seeking political asylum, but after a week or so we see them setting up businesses. Sometimes, people come here seeking political protection, and while it is important for them to be given such political protection, if any of those commit crime, they should be reported to the police”.
The Deputy Minister further said that it was disturbing to see some of the parents appearing on national television seeming to be instigating the looting of shops.
“We cannot have a situation where parents seem to be defeated by their own children, we are your own children, and you gave birth to us.
“It is time that we take parenthood to the rightful place and I think this is one of the things that has gone wrong here. Some parents as we’ve seen on national television, do not take their children to school, but they go and loot shops with their children.
“In a democratic South Africa, this freedom does not give parents rights to loot shops, but instead, our democracy gave them rights to take their children to school.
“However, as a nation, we should say, enough is enough, looting of shops will never happen in our names. We are not the young people and parents who support looting, that we are not going to allow this form of criminal activity to continue,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za
Source : SAnews.gov.za