HARARE, April 27 — The Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Harare this week will likely tackle the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, a government official here says.
The Permanent Secretary in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Joey Bimha, said here Sunday that the issue of xenophobia would likely come up “because it is the most topical subject affecting the region at the moment”.
Ministers of the 15-nation sub-regional bloc would begin their meetings on Monday ahead of the summit of Heads of State and Government, which was officially called to discuss industrialisation. Heads of State will meet on Wednesday.
Bimha told the government-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper that that the ministers would likely come out with a resolution on the recent xenophobic attacks in parts of South Africa once they had discussed the matter.
The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma would have “a rough ride” at the summit when he is confronted by regional presidents whose nationals have been targeted in the attacks in Durban and Johannesburg.
Police have confirmed the deaths of seven foreign nationals in the violence, including one Zimbabwean.
Harare has repatriated around 900 Zimbabwean citizens in the wake of the attacks, though others appear to be making their own way home independently.
The SADC summit is taking place at the same time as the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo and the Harare International Festival of the Arts. State media have urged Zimbabweans to pull together to “show the visitors some love”.