Riyaz Patel

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he has spoken to the former presidents of Mozambique and Tanzania to lead a mission to identify the root causes of the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Ramaphosa told a joint special sitting of Parliament on GBV Wednesday, that Joaquim Chissano and Jakaya Kikwete will look into the recent xenophobic-linked violence in parts of South Africa which claimed the lives of ten South Africans and two foreign nationals, saw livelihoods shattered, and hundreds of foreign nationals displaced.

The recent public unrest exposed not only the levels of intolerance in society, but also the extent to which many people are frustrated about their social and economic conditions, Ramaphosa said.

Earlier this week, the president dispatched special envoys to seven African countries to soothe tensions between Pretoria and Africa.

South Africa, he said, is going to work with local and international humanitarian organizations as well as various diaspora forums on an initiative to tackle xenophobia and intolerance.

Such a campaign must be aimed at “eradicating stereotypes, encouraging cross-cultural understanding and promoting social cohesion,” he said.

There is no place for xenophobia in this country, nor is there any place for criminality, whether it is committed by foreigners or locals, Ramaphosa added.

“We share your frustration that some South African employers are employing foreigners over locals to undercut wages, turning worker against worker,” Ramaphosa said.

But he emphasised that he will not allow South Africa to be sucked into a “maelstrom of primitive nationalism and tribalism.”

He called for efforts to courageously and actively resist any attempts that seek to divide Africans from each other.

Rather than retreating into a laager, Africans must embrace African integration and the benefits it will bring to all, Ramaphosa said.

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