Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Sadc countries, whose citizens have been affected by xenophobic attacks in South Africa, should not retaliate, but must engage Pretoria to end the problem, a top diplomat has said.
Dean of ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe Mr Mwampanga Mwana Nanga, who is also DRC Ambassador to Zimbabwe, said there was need for calm.
His comments come in the wake of reports that some countries have taken retaliatory measures against South Africa to demonstrate their resentment with the attacks against their citizens.
There were reports that Zambia radio stations had stopped playing South African music while in Malawi, South Africans were reportedly being barred from entering that country. In Mozambique, reports were that South African trucks were being barred from entering.
Reports from Mozambique also indicated that there were disturbances at the border linking the two countries after an unruly mob barricaded roads targeting trucks with South African registration numbers.
Trucks with South African registration plates were also allegedly stoned in Mozambique.
Other reports were that Nigeria gave South Africa 48 hours to stop xenophobia attacks on foreign nationals or risk to have its companies in Lagos closed.
An official with the newly elected All Progressive Congress (APC), Tolu Adesanya, confirmed to eNCA that they handed down a memorandum to the South African embassy in Lagos on Wednesday.
In an interview during the Independence commemoration at the National Sports Stadium, Ambassador Mwana Nanga said retaliation did not help to address the situation but worsened it.
“There is a saying that goes two wrongs do not make a right. Closing the border and retaliating does not solve the problem. We have to engage the South African government to have the problem addressed,” he said.
Ambassador Mwana Nanga said he received reports of people wanting to retaliate, but all these have not been coming from governments. He said it was important that Sadc assist the African National Congress government to overcome the challenge of xenophobia.
“The xenophobia is not coming from the government of ANC. The ANC fought the struggle to liberate the country.
“But you have to understand that there are a lot of reactionary forces in South Africa. There are a lot of people trying to take advantage of this frustration of the fact that the rewards of the liberation are not coming as fast as they should.
“We, as African governments, as progressive forces, we should work hand in glove with the ANC to deal with this matter,” said Ambassador Mwana Nanga.
Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira said South Africans were misdirecting their energy on fellow blacks instead of focusing on how they could control the economy which was still in the hands of whites.
He said black South Africans were of the mistaken view that fellow Africans were a source of their problems when the real issue was white supremacy which he said still dominated that country.
“The xenophobia showed that people no longer value the sanctity of life. In South Africa blacks have not yet taken full control of the economy and they think the blacks coming to their country as the source of their misery.
“They do not realise that since they got independence they have not yet been empowered. Land, industries, among others are still in the hands of whites,” said Chief Charumbira.
He said most blacks were still working for whites in South Africa.
President Mugabe and South African leader Jacob Zuma have since condemned xenophobia attacks.