We strongly condemn KZN xenophobia breakout – R2K

Organisation says SABC blackout on this news is creating a false sense of security

We strongly condemn the KZN xenophobia breakout!

29 March 2019

We strongly condemn the recent destructive and violent attacks on foreign nationals in KwaZulu-Natal.  The situation has reached a stage where we call on government and leaders to refrain from making utterances that can fuel anger and hate which as we see are resulting in widespread violence.  It is reported that locals were acting on the instruction of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who warned that there would be a clampdown on illegal businesses owned by foreigners and those who were in the country illegally during the ANC’s January 8 statement.

While such statement may not necessarily be true, we call on political leaders to refrain from a narrative that seeks to propose foreign nationals as the problem in this country which we view as an unfortunate attempt to divert attention from the real frustrations and genuine challenges faced by communities. We cannot allow a situation where foreign nationals are used as a proxy for political battles:

1. We call on the government to condemn these criminal acts and take decisive action to address the recent criminal actions.

2. KZN law enforcement agencies to respond decisively deal with all the acts of criminality associated with such actions and hold those responsible to account. This will help avert the potential for the current situation to spiralling out of control and potentially result in all out xenophobic attacks.

3. We call on the government to put in place, strategies to mitigate the simmering tensions fuelled by certain political organizations that have been polarizing society with their xenophobic utterances

4. We demand that a thorough investigation of individuals who are implicated in the generation of and disbursement of hateful messages in the media and other platforms, especially political leaders; and that these leaders be taken to task.

Currently, there are violent riots, stone throwing, trucks looted and burnt, cars set alight – a situation far from under control with no confirmed arrests.  The time is now for the government to publicly show their concern for the events as unfolded in KZN. The time is now for South Africans to accept that we did not achieve this democracy in isolation. Foreign and a number of African countries played a vital role in obtaining freedom in South Africa.  The home we call South Africa is a benefit of relief granted to South Africans during the struggle for freedom. Now that we have achieved this freedom we must reflect on the road that led us here.

There is a large scale destruction and looting of foreign-owned shops and locally owned assets.  These xenophobic attacks are clearly not only an attack on foreigners but on South Africans too.

The SABC blackout on this news is creating a false sense of security. The reality in KZN is being published via social media platforms and local radio stations. People have the right to be informed of occurrences that impact their lives.  The public is walking into an ambush by not being informed of these spates of violence. As a national broadcaster, the SABC is mandated to broadcast our realities.

Lastly, we call on all South Africans to exercise the spirit of UBUNTU. Immigrants must once again feel safe in our country.

Issued by Busi Mtabane, Communicator, Right2Know, 29 March 2019