Xenophobic thugs: ‘We’ll burn you alive’
JOHANNESBURG. — Security has been beefed up at the Durban offices of the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) after a series of violent threats, City Press reports.
Anonymous callers have threatened to burn down the office if it continued its investigation into Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini after his alleged anti-foreigner speech in Pongola last month, which is widely believed to have sparked the xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal three weeks ago.
A source within the SAHRC revealed to City Press one of the threatening remarks: “If you do not immediately stop with the investigation against the king, your office will be burnt with you in it.”
Another was directed at SAHRC staff: “Be careful. We are watching you. And we know where you live.”
SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena confirmed the organisation had received numerous threatening letters and calls that came through to the provincial offices “regarding our investigation into the alleged utterance by His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini at the moral regeneration event in Pongola”.
Mangena said the SAHRC was concerned about the threats because many of the organisation’s staff members “work in the communities where some of the calls and letters come from”.
He declined to reveal from which areas the threats were being received.
“The commission is continuing with its investigation into the king’s utterances and will release a report with its finding at the end of the investigation,” he said.
Mangena said the threats, which were being taken seriously, were now being analysed to see how much danger they posed to the commission and its staff.
He said the commission believed that Zwelithini had no role in the threats and said that the king’s office had been co-operating with the SAHRC’s investigation.
“Whether there is a threat or not, we don’t believe that the king has anything to do with that.”
Government’s plan of action
City Press has obtained a copy of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure report, which reveals a 27-step programme to address xenophobia and immigration-related problems in South Africa.
The plan is a mix of tough action against foreigners who are in South Africa illegally, and action against those perpetrating the violence.
It includes the re-registration of all foreigners who have been displaced by the recent violence and who are now staying in refugee camps, and the repatriation of those found to be in the country illegally. The department of home affairs will also begin to trace and monitor foreign nationals. All who enter and leave the country will have to submit biometric information such as fingerprints.
In addition, all government departments will support the programme to reintegrate legal migrants into the communities they fled.
The plan also details daily troop deployments to hot spots, and a massive deployment of intelligence agents to develop a xenophobia early warning system.
The SA Police Service, prosecutors and intelligence departments will work together on a case management system with dedicated courts, prosecutors and interpreters to expedite cases. National police spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said 330 people had already been arrested in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and North West in connection with the attacks. Specialised courts, which already have close to 50 cases before them, had been set up in Chatsworth, Durban and Umlazi, said KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Moipone Noko.
Meanwhile, top South African government officials are furious about the Nigerian Senate’s public reprimand following the xenophobic attacks. — City Press.
More flee xenophobic attacks
Thupeyo Muleya in DURBAN and Innocent Ruwende in Beitbridge
The second batch of 333 Zimbabweans who were displaced by xenophobic attacks in Durban, South Africa, will leave for Zimbabwe this morning in a convoy of three buses and a truck. These are part of 2 500 people from different countries who sought refuge at the Phoenix Camp following overnight attacks on African immigrants in the Ntomba area of Durban.
Zimbabwe’s Consul-General to South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said the repatriation documents had been processed by both the embassy and the Home Affairs department.
“We have processed documents for all our people and they will leave at 8m tomorrow (Thursday) in three buses and one truck that will carry their luggage,” he said.
“The sorting out of their documents had been temporarily shelved as the Home Affairs department was clearing immigrants from Mozambique and Malawi. We are very grateful for the corporation and assistance we are getting from businessmen in Durban and the South African government in providing shelter to our people.”
Mr Mukonoweshuro said though the situation was now calm in Durban, people were still cautious.
He said a lot of immigrants had shown enthusiasm in going home though a few had indicated they still need to collect their salaries and properties.
“People are really excited to go home after spending several days at the camps. It was the same case with Malawian and Mozambican immigrants,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro.
Government started evacuating displaced immigrants from South Africa on Sunday with the first batch of 407 which had been staying at the Chatsworth camp arriving in Zimbabwe on Monday evening.
The victims are being transported in Government-hired transport via Beitbridge Border Post where they are being handed over to the Civil Protection Unit for onward transmission and integration to their respective homes.
They are also given post trauma counselling upon arrival in Zimbabwe.
There were reports of more xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg yesterday although the Zimbabwean embassy said no Zimbabwean has volunteered to be repatriated from that area.
“A few cases of xenophobic attacks have been reported in Johannesburg, but as of now no displaced Zimbabwean has volunteered to be repatriated,” said Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa, Mr Isaac Moyo.
Labour and Social Services permanent secretary Mr Ngoni Masoka, who is leading a committee comprising several stakeholders, including the police, immigration department, Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, said logistics were in place to welcome the second batch of returnees.
“We are learning from our first experience,” he said in an interview in Beitbridge yesterday. “We had some pitfalls which we must improve on, but generally things went on well with the first group.
“We talked about people going missing in Musina while we were feeding them,” he said. “We have to avoid such situations and be able to account for all the people who get on to the buses. Lots of stop overs increase work for the security team, hence we should avoid that.”
Mr Masoka said Government was going to beef up personnel to ensure that paper work was completed in time and avoid delaying transportation of the immigrants to their homes from the reception centre at the border post.
Principal immigration officer for Beitbridge Mr Innocent Hamandishe said they would engage their counterparts in South Africa to avoid unnecessary delays after the first group of immigrants spent four hours at the South African side of the border.
“We are going to meet them at the South African border to make sure we speed up the process,” he said. “Last time, the people had no repatriation certificates.”
Ministry of Health and Child Care officials said most immigrants were suffering from pneumonia because the places where they were being kept in South Africa were not habitable as the ground was wet.
They said other common ailments were injuries, running stomachs, abdominal discomfort and septic lacerations.
Meanwhile, a Zimbabwean couple who were shot and wounded by a mob of South Africans during fresh xenophobia motivated attacks on Tuesday are reported to be out of danger.
The man, Proud Ncube (33), has since been discharged from hospital, Zimbabwe’s Consul-General Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro, said yesterday.
He said Ncube was shot in the chest and the bullet went out through the back while on a visit to his girlfriend, Sandile Moyo (22) in Alexandra, Johannesburg. (In our issue yesterday we reported the two as Ms Proud Ncube and Mr Innocent Sibanda. We have since been told these are alias names.)
The woman was shot through the mouth and on the right arm, but the bullet missed her tongue.
“Our embassy staff visited the two at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital to check on them physically. They are now in a stable condition,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro.
“Ncube was discharged from hospital and he is being treated as an outpatient from his house in Thembisa suburb.”
Mr Mukonoweshuro said the two were shot with shotguns and robbed of cellphones and money by the mob.
The shooting and the killing of a Mozambican national in the same area has forced the South African government to deploy soldiers to volatile parts of Johannesburg and KwaZulu Natal.
Emmanuel Sithole, the Mozambican, was stabbed to death by four South African men over the weekend in broad-day light, while other residents watched.
The four killers appeared in court yesterday and are still in custody.
Reports indicated yesterday that at least seven people have been killed in the ongoing anti-immigrant violence in South Africa, targeting only Africans.
Zim pair gunned down in S. Africa
Two Zimbabweans are battling for their lives at a South African hospital after they were shot in Alexandra, Johannesburg, the same area where Emmanuel Sithole of Mozambique lost his life at the hands of marauding xenophobic hoodlums. Zimbabwe’s Consul-General to South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro confirmed the incident yesterday.
He identified the victims as Ms Proud Ncube (33) and Mr Innocent Sibanda (33).
The two were shot in their necks, while Ncube was also shot in the leg.
South African President Jacob Zuma is today expected to meet organisations representing foreigners.
In an interview from South Africa, President Zuma’s spokesperson Mr Marc Maharaj confirmed receiving reports of the shooting, but said the details were still sketchy.
“What I can say is that the President is deeply saddened by continued acts of violence and is scheduled to meet organisations representing foreign nationals today then the day after he will meet stakeholders to discuss immigration laws.
“We condemn all forms of violence and there is an intense anti-xenophobic campaign going on in the country,” said Mr Maharaj.
The shooting and the killing of a Mozambican national in the same area has forced South Africa to deploy soldiers to volatile areas in Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal.
Sithole was fatally stabbed by four South African men at the weekend.
The four have since been arrested and appeared in court yesterday for murder.
This comes as the body of one of the xenophobic victims killed in South Africa last week, arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday with burial set for today.
Mrs Naume Garusa (41) was decapitated and her body cut into pieces in South Africa last week.
The body parts were found near Killarney in Johannesburg.
Her son Brian said his mother will be buried today in Chikombedzi, Chiredzi.
Mrs Garusa’s body was identified by her AFM church Pastor Sibongile Kudita.
Pastor Kudita said Naomi’s body was cut into pieces and were stashed in refuse bags.
“Her face was screened and we could not see the whole body which had been reduced to pieces. The funeral parlour tried to put back the pieces together but failed,” she said.
She is believed to have been killed around 9am at her work place in Johannesburg. Mrs Garusa was reported missing and her body parts were later discovered near her workplace.
Gauteng police said they did not think she was a victim of xenophobic violence.
Police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini said: “We don’t think it (Garusa’s death) was related to the xenophobic violence. It looked like a planned killing – she was killed elsewhere, then her body was put in the plastic bag and dumped,” Dlamini said, confirming that police were investigating the motive for the murder.
Mr Maharaj dismissed reports that the South African government was not doing much in protecting lives of foreigners saying the army had since been deployed in Alexandra to assist police in maintaining peace and security.
At least seven people are reported to have been killed in the ongoing anti-immigrant violence.
Mr Mukonoweshuro commended the South African government for deploying soldiers in the country’s hot spots.
“We appreciate the efforts by our host to take decisive action to quell the continued attack on immigrants. We are hopeful that they will maintain law and order,” he said.
“They (the two Zimbabweans) were shot and injured by a mob of South Africans on Monday night and were rushed to Johannesburg Hospital and are in a stable condition. This incident and the murder of a Mozambican have resulted in the host government deploying soldiers to assist the police in the area in restoring order.”
Mr Mukonoweshuro said they were expecting to repatriate the second batch of Zimbabweans who were displaced during xenophobia attacks in Durban today (Wednesday).
The Home Affairs department will finalise the processes leading to the reparation of our people tomorrow (Wednesday) and we expect to start loading the buses in the afternoon. We are pushing hard and working extra hours to ensure that the whole process will be completed before Friday,” he said.
Over 360 Zimbabweans are still being kept at Phoenix Camp in Durban north pending their evacuation to Zimbabwe by road via Beitbridge Border post.
The first batch of the victims arrived in Beitbridge on Sunday evening in a convoy of six buses and a haulage truck hired by the Zimbabwean Government.
Xenophobia victims narrate ordeal
Innocent Ruwende in Beitbridge—
Eighteen of the more than 400 Zimbabweans repatriated on Monday after xenophobic attacks in South Africa were severely traumatised, while 97 had mental health problems and urgently needed special counselling from Government specialists and other non-governmental organisations who set up a clinic at the International Organisation of Migration offices in Beitbridge.
Deputy director Mental Health in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Mrs Dorcas Sithole said the 18 people needed special counselling because they were traumatised by the events they experienced in Durban.
“We had to counsel the victims because they experienced horrible things which may cause them to have post-traumatic stress, which may lead them to behave in a strange manner. They may end up taking drugs to escape the harsh realities they faced,” she said.
“Of the 456 (received), 97 had mental health problems while 18 needed special counselling,” she said.
Some of the people who underwent counselling said the events they saw in Durban will haunt them forever.
Mr Rodiny Magada (24) of Zaka said on the fateful day, he was sleeping when he heard a loud noise followed by a knock on his door.
“I hid under the bed and a group of Zulu-speaking South Africans forced their way into my house and one of them picked up a half bottle of beer which I had drank earlier and started drinking the alcohol. They started to ransack my house and they took the fridge outside.
“They searched under the mattress and took some money and took the mattress outside. They then lifted the base and found me hiding and they started attacking me with various objects including iron bars, machetes and wooden sticks,” he said.
He said one of the aggressors was wielding a gun and they took everything he had in the house.
Mr Magada said he managed to escape when one of the group members restrained the gang from further assaulting him, but he suffered multiple injuries.
Mr Emmanuel Vengemundai (38) of Chivi said: “I heard some noise and when I opened the door, I was knocked on the head. I could not tell what hit me, but I realised my attackers were heavily armed with claw hammers, knobkerries, iron bars and logs.
“They assaulted me with various objects and left me for dead.”
He said he struggled to walk and after 2km he met some South African Police officers and narrated his ordeal.
Mr Vengemundai who had stayed in South Africa since 2000 said the police seemed afraid to confront the gang, but they took him to a nearby hospital where he had nine stitches sewn on his head and seven on his hands.
Fanuel Musenyurwa (29) said he encountered his attackers when he was about to open the door of his house while coming from work.
“The group of about 30 people armed with various weapons attacked me, but I managed to escape. I ran away but they took all my property which I bought using money I got from plumbing and tiling.”
Mrs Keresi Kurundai (44) said: “We heard the group was reaching our homestead then we fled. While at the shopping centre, we found a group of Zulu men destroying a shop belonging to an Ethiopian while police were watching.
All the victims interviewed said they were sold off by their neighbours.
Xenophobia: No word from Big Brother(s)?
We are all disgusted and hurt by the senseless violence that has been taking place in South Africa over the past few weeks. African people working and living in that country have been beaten, tortured and killed by locals who are demanding that foreigners, including Zimbabweans, leave that country. South African vigilantes have a special way of killing people: they tie the victims’ hands at the back and put a car tyre around their necks, douse the victim with petrol and set them alight.
In case there are two or more victims, they are tied together so that they will not be able to run from their confused, burning hell.
This special kind of treatment is called necklacing.
Sometimes unfortunate individuals get stoned to death.
All this while police watch, mainly.
Businesses and household properties have been burnt and people have had to run away with only their lives, sometimes holding onto their little children.
Some have not been so lucky.
The official figures say seven people have been killed in the carnage, but your bet is as good as any, that the figure is far higher than that.
Zimbabwe has begun repatriating its citizens and President Mugabe rightly condemned the violence calling it disgusting and shocking.
Many other African countries have followed suit and have moved to take their nationals away to safety.
In Mozambique, tensions have been high with sporadic attacks on South African-registered vehicles while large South African companies have as a precaution evacuated their staff back to South Africa.
South African leaders, in particular President Zuma, have tried to condemn the violence but have been far from convincing.
In all his public or televised speeches, President Zuma has condemned violence with the one corner of the mouth while the other has been tacit in approving violence by attributing crime to foreigners and saying he will review immigration laws – which have been the very bases of attacks.
His body language has not been convincing, often passing for a perfunctory actor.
He was even condemned by fellow politicians in parliament for this.
A publication called Quartz puts Zuma’s actions perfectly well in an article titled “South Africa’s leaders went missing on the foreigner attacks and shamed our history”.
It begins by telling us: “At the dawn of South Africa’s transition, Jacob Zuma was widely recognised as a peacemaker.”
But he failed the test on xenophobia.
Says Quartz: “Although he tried to assure the disheartened and agitated crowd that the South African government condemned the events of the past two weeks – he lacked the earnestness he once displayed those many years ago. Many in the crowd along with many in and outside the country asked why it had taken Zuma this long to step up and address both the victims and the attackers.
“Even his speech failed to be unequivocal. Summed up, his overriding message to the more than 1 000 foreign nationals stationed at the temporary relocation camp in Chatsworth was: ‘We do not want you to leave, but if you want to go, we will help you leave.’”
He then held up a cheque of R50 000 “in an attempt to demonstrate sympathy”.
He also presented a few other donations by businesses in Chatsworth and Phoenix, but “(t)he crowd responded back with jeers and boos”.
“The measly donation aside, the foreign nationals at the Chatsworth camp this past weekend were peeved by the idea that South Africans want ‘to make their lives better for them.’ After two weeks of horror, and everyday accounts of prejudice, it really is no surprise they booed,” notes Quartz.
So the catastrophe went on.
King Goodwill Zwelithini, the Zulu monarch who is being blamed for the flare-up in violence after saying that foreigners must pack their bags and leave South Africa, has not helped matters either, especially from a moral perspective.
During his so-called Imbizo he did not apologise for his inflammatory remarks but blamed everyone – the media and a doubtful “third force” – but himself.
He went further.
He complained that he was being accused for the deaths yet he had not killed anyone. What cheek!
He even went further to insult our intelligence by charging that the war that now was to be waged was a war to protect foreigners.
He laughed while saying this.
So, fear, death and displacement continue to grip foreigners in South Africa.
The most curious thing, though, is that there has not been the righteous outrage by the usual big brothers from the West.
I have been waiting for the US, Canada, Australia and all the EU to cry blue over South African murders.
Nothing of the sort has happened.
That is, except a brief, little- or never-publicised statement by the US ambassador to Pretoria that I had to spend the greater part of the week trying to find on the internet.
The statement itself is very curious.
It says: “We remain concerned at the loss of innocent lives, destruction of property, and impact on families and communities, and we urge individuals involved to refrain from all forms of violence, exercise restraint, and rely on peaceful dialog (sic) to resolve any differences.
“The US government has long recognised the challenges posed by an influx of migrants and refugees throughout Southern Africa and provides various forms of assistance in South Africa.”
Patrick H. Gaspard, US Ambassador to South Africa, adds: “As an immigrant to my own country, my heart goes out to those who have been attacked for being different.”
No anger, no threats and definitely no sanctions for such horrific acts that government clearly failed to contain, and in some cases, encouraged as did Lindiwe Zulu, the Small Business Development Minister; and Nomvula Mokonyane, the Minister of Water and Sanitation.
The most foul King Zwelithini has even compared foreigners to ants and lice that must be brought out in the sun to die.
Ordinarily, these should be cases for the International Criminal Court as they incite genocide in the proportion of what the world saw and ignored in Rwanda.
You can imagine what would have happened if this xenophobic country were Zimbabwe!
Surely, the United Nations Security Council, egged on by the same powerful countries that are ignoring as foreigners are being butchered in South Africa, would have passed a resolution for the invasion of the country under the dubious Responsibility to Protect (R2P)!
The same way they did in Libya.
But rules change willy-nilly where Big Brother is concerned.
It is called hypocrisy.
If human rights mattered surely we should have heard a lot of noise from the West regarding South Africa.
We hope that the leaders in the West sleep well at night after delivering diatribes over some unknown, attention-seeking activist from Zimbabwe while they ignore the humanitarian situation unfolding in South Africa where several people have been killed and up to 30 000 displaced.
Berita Khumalo speaks on Xenophobic attacks
Mathew Masinge Entertainment Reporter—
South-Africa based Zimbabwean singer Berita Khumalo has spoken out on the ongoing xenophobic attacks saying South Africans should know that whoever comes to their country is there for their benefit. The award-winning Berita was seen in an Urban Zulu hairstyle when she was hosted by South Africa’s ANN7 which she told that the attacks should be a thing of the past.
“To have a situation where people are not being treated well in this country (South Africa) is disgusting and should not be happening in this day and age. South Africa is a well respected country and should maintain its dignity,” she said.
The “Thando Lwethu” hit-maker who has established a base in South Africa over the past years expressed the need for human conversation to take place in the country.
“We are all humans and no one should have power over another because we were created in the same way, let us conserve the human race and say no to shunning it. Let us have a zero tolerance to xenophobia and all forms of hate and resentments,” she pleaded.
The soulful singer who just got her new album “Songs of Empowerment” out recently went ahead to congratulate Zimbabwe on attaining its 35th independence anniversary.
The artiste has joined other musicians like Tuku, Jah Prayzah, Africa Revenge, Amara Brown,Sulumani Chimbetu, Extra large, Edith Weutonga and other Zim dancehall artiste who have lent their voices to speak against the horrific attacks on foreign nationals that include Zimbabweans living in South Africa.
Six people have died in KwaZulu Natal in the latest spate of attacks on foreign African nationals.
It is widely believed that these attacks were sparked by words uttered by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. He has denied this and said the media misquoted him.
The violence has since spread to parts of Gauteng.
Kanengoni-Malinga speaks on xenophobia
Brenda Phiri Entertainment Reporter
Sport, Arts and Culture deputy minister, Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga has spoken on the tension in the arts sector that resulted from the current wave of xenophobia in South Africa. This came after the cancellation of a show by South African band Big Nuz in Zimbabwe due to an aggressive social media campaign by locals.
Speaking on the side lines of an art exhibition in the capital recently, Kanengoni-Malinga said people were entitled to express their dissatisfaction in peaceful ways.
“The xenophobia issue is a sensitive one. You have to look at it from two different angles.
“This heinous crime is perpetrated against our people. It is a protective instinct that we have as human beings to protect our own,” said Kanengoni-Malinga.
She said while the initial reaction is the urge to revenge, it usually worsens the situation instead of presenting solutions.
She said the call to boycott South African shows was however a safer and effective way to denounce xenophobia.
“I understand why people are saying that. It is safer because there is no violence involved,” she said.
The deputy minister added that locals should be forgiven for not being in the partying mood at such concerts due to the brutality in the neighbouring country.
“It’s a time where we need to have a positive focus. It’s not really about boycotting South African concerts. People are saying, we want to push you as a South African government. Send the police out there, act swiftly and aggressively against xenophobia. Meanwhile we will not promote your arts industry,” she said.
Meanwhile, South African rapper, Casper Nyovest’s has insisted he will be performing in Bulawayo this Saturday. Through the show’s organisers, he said he will be performing in solidarity with xenophobia victims.
This is despite social threats and calls from various circles for Casper Nyovest to wait for the dust to settle.
Renowned artiste, Albert Nyathi advised locals not to unfairly target the South African artistes as it was an act of Xenophobia.
“These are fellow our artistes from South Africa who have not beaten or killed anyone. We should actually work with them to denounce xenophobia. Let’s not be emotional. There are better ways to handle this,” he said.
We must be ashamed: Malema
JOHANNESBURG. — Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema called for peace in the Johannesburg township of Alexandra yesterday afternoon, laying the blame for deadly xenophobic violence at the door of the ANC. “Today I’m not proud to be South African. I am totally ashamed. Because today Africans are eating fellow Africans,” he told crowds gathered around him, snapping pictures of him with their cellphones.
“We are all Africans,” said Malema. “Africa, we are one. We must be ashamed.”
Unemployed people criticising foreigners for taking their jobs, should rather ask the ANC for help.
“Go ask the ANC for a job,” said Malema.
“It (the ANC) protects white privilege and leaves you to poverty.”
The seventh person killed in a wave of xenophobic violence, Emmanuel Sithole, died after being stabbed in Alexandra on Saturday.
“Alexandra, please reclaim your streets. We are peaceful people,” said Malema.
A few hundred people had gathered near the Women’s Hostel in Alexandra ahead of Malema’s arrival, News24’s Thomas Hartleb reported from the area.
Before he arrived, an EFF member was reportedly shot in a nearby hostel, but details on the shooting were sketchy.
Before he turned up, two groups of EFF members went toyi-toying down the street holding up posters against xenophobia.
Earlier, a man got onto the back of a bakkie with a microphone and announced, “The commander in chief is in the area,” though Malema had yet to be spotted.
“Our enemies is (sic) Pick n Pay, De Beers, not the black man,” said the man.
Three people were arrested for Sithole’s murder and are expected to appear in court today. —News24.
Xenophobia: First batch arrives
Innocent Ruwende in Beitbridge and Thupeyo Muleya in Durban—
The first batch of Zimbabweans fleeing xenophobic attacks in South Africa arrived at Beitbridge Border Post last night with harrowing tales of how they narrowly escaped death and witnessed some people being killed. Most of the 407 people, who arrived in a convoy of six luxury buses and a haulage truck supplied by the Government, looked distraught and vowed never to return to South Africa after missing death by a whisker upon being sold out by their neighbours.
Mr Climate Mushanga of Zaka said he had to flee, leaving behind his South African wife and two children after watching his cousin being beheaded.
“On Tuesday last week, I watched my cousin Pepukai Museyi being beheaded by a group of rowdy Zulus armed with machetes, knifes, knobkerries and guns who were toyi-toying, singing songs denouncing foreigners,” he said.
“It seemed that the South African Police were laughing while my relative was being killed. We were only helped by the Metro Police who took us to a camp where other Zimbabweans were. As a result, I left my wife whose life I don’t fear for because she is South African. I fear for the lives of my children because these people were ruthless.”
Mr Daniel Sungai (46) showed his hand which was injured as he blocked a knife from rowdy South African gangsters.
“I ran for my life and mobilised other Zimbabweans so that we could fight back, but we were overpowered because they outnumbered us, so we ended up giving up and running back to Zimbabwe with our lives,” he said.
“I lost my money and cellphone during the scuffle. I will never return to that country again.”
Ms Margaret Dhambuza of Chiredzi said she fled her home after she was sold off by her neighbours.
“The South Africans were making rounds in the Chatsworth area of Durban hunting for foreigners to kill and when I heard about it, I took my two children and went to the highway where I was rescued by the police,” she said.
Ms Brenda Mavenge, also of Chiredzi, said her house was destroyed and her husband was thoroughly beaten.
“They travelled in groups armed with knives, knobkerries, machetes and guns,” she said. “I suspect we were sold off by our neighbours. Those people are ruthless. We watched some children being beaten and being thrown in storm drains full of water. I will never go back to that country again although my husband remained.”
The xenophobia victims are expected to leave for their various destinations early this morning after putting up at a holding centre established by the Government at Beitbridge.
Minister of State for Matabeleland South Cde Abednigo Ncube, who was part of a Government delegation welcomed them.
“As Government we were disturbed with the disturbances and were worried about the safety of our people,” he said while addressing the victims. “We have been in constant touch with the South African Government on a regular basis to get the latest information on the attacks so that we could come up with a plan.
“We will try and solve the issue with the South African government and you can return once we are sure that you will be safe there.”
Cde Ncube said Government would provide three buses, while other partners had provided a similar numberto carry the victims to their respective homes from Beitbridge.
Civil Protection Unit director Mr Madzudzo Pawadyira said they expected more Zimbabweans to flee South African if the situation remained the same.
The repatriation of 360 more Zimbabweans displaced by the attacks was delayed yesterday after the South African Home Affairs department prioritised processing documents for Malawian nationals who also want to leave.
The group was expected to leave for Zimbabwe yesterday, but has to wait a little longer until the documentation of close to 3 600 Malawians is completed at both the Chatsworth and Phoenix holding centres in Durban.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa Mr Isaac Moyo said they were hopeful that the host government would deploy more home affairs workers to speed up the repatriation process.
“We have idenfied and documented our people and are waiting for the host government to finalise its processes,” he said. “If they don’t deploy more staff, the process of repatriating these people might take long.”
Mr Moyo said the situation appeared calm in the area.
“We attended a meeting with a number of traditional leaders from Kwazulu-Natal today, including King Zwelithini and he promised to work with other leaders to ensure the safety for migrants within 30 days,” he said.
Speaking during a meeting yesterday, King Goodwill Zwelithini denied that he incited the violence, saying he was misquoted by the media.
Addressing the same meeting where King Zwelithini spoke, South Africa’s Prince Mongosuthu Buthelezi said: “There is no sense in what is happening. A spark has been ignited, and it has taken flame in terrible proportions”.
“The fact is, chasing out other nations will not solve any of our problems, because these are own problems. They are rooted in our hearts.”
Cosafa slam xenophobia
Sports Reporter COSAFA have become the latest body to add their voice to the growing chorus of condemnation over the outbreak of xenophobia in South Africa and have vowed to use the upcoming Senior Men’s Cup tournament as a means to heal the wounds of the region.
Parts of South Africa have seen attacks on foreign nationals as disgruntled local call for them to leave the country.
The North West province, which will host the COSAFA Cup 2015 from May 17-30, has not been affected and the South African government has made assurances that they are tackling the issue head-on.
COSAFA president Suketu Patel has led the condemnation of the attacks by the leadership of the organisation and offered support to the South African Football Association.
“COSAFA is a zone of multicultural backgrounds and we fully condemn the shameful xenophobia we are seeing in South Africa. However, we stand firmly behind SAFA at this time and are looking forward to the COSAFA Cup 2015 as an opportunity for all countries in the region to come together in peace,” Patel said.
Former Namibia Football Association president John Muinjo, who is now chairman of COSAFA’s Referees Committee and a senior member of the executive, is also hopeful the COSAFA Cup 2015 can build solidarity.
“In support of the decision taken by the South African government as well as SADC to condemn the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, I feel as COSAFA leaders we should also condemn the violence strongly,” Muinjo said.
“But football being a bridge-builder, we should in solidarity encourage SAFA and COSAFA to host the tournament in South Africa as planned and by doing so demonstrating that as Africans we are against those barbaric acts and that COSAFA is determined to assist normalising the situation.”
Muinjo believes any suggestions the tournament should be shelved would be counter-productive.
“By shelving the tournament we are not by any means going to solve the problem, but in fact running away from it.”
SAFA have already condemned the xenophobic attacks and called on the perpetrators to cease immediately.
“What is happening in certain parts of the country whereby fellow Africans are being subjected to all sorts of hate and abuse is quite unacceptable. This is not what the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy was all about. When we hosted the 2010 show-piece, it was an African World Cup, to unite the continent, speak and relate as a united family,” said SAFA president Dr Danny Jordaan.
“We as SAFA are saying these barbaric actions must end; and end now. We fought against apartheid because it segregated society and xenophobia has the same apartheid tendencies.”
Buoyed by the COSFA stance ZIFA yesterday maintained that they had never contemplated boycotting the tourney where the Warriors will for the first time have to play in the preliminary group stage after tumbling down on the FIFA World rankings.
ZIFA said Zimbabwe would join 13 other countries at the regional tournament from May 17 to May 30 despite some calls to boycott the tournament following a wave of violence targeted at African immigrants in the country.
The association said they were in agreement with the COSAFA stance that the tournament provided the platform to fight the xenophobic violence currently rocking parts of South Africa.
The tournament will be hosted in the North West Province. The Warriors are set to start from the preliminary stage where they face Mauritius, Seychelles and Namibia in Group B. If they win the group, they meet old enemies Zambia in the quarter-finals.
Zambia beat Zimbabwe in Ndola in the 2013 COSAFA final.
“The association believes that playing at the tournament will be a regional victory against negative elements of society which can be defeated using football, the same way the continent went ahead to play the Africa Cup of Nations in an Ebola hit region.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association would like to inform the football fraternity and the nation at large that Zimbabwe will not boycott the 2015 COSAFA tournament to be hosted by South Africa.
“The association takes great exception to the nefarious xenophobic violence and we condemn these brutal acts with the contempt they de- serve.
“While we do not condone xenophobia, we believe that boycotting the tournament is not the appropriate measure to deal with these ghastly malpractices.
“We believe that two wrongs do not make a right and Zimbabwe is a respected member of COSAFA hence we will co-operate fully to ensure that our regional tournament succeeds,” Gwesela said.
Ambassador calls for calm
Fidelis Munyoro Herald Reporter
United Nations High Commission for Refugees has expressed disquiet over xenophobic attacks in South Africa in the past three weeks that have left six people dead and displaced more than 5 000 foreigners.The UN refugee agency, however, welcomed the South African government’s efforts to contain the wave of xenophobia in the South African state.
The attacks in KwaZulu-Natal province began last month following an apparent labour dispute involving South Africans and foreign workers.
“UNHCR is extremely concerned. We have welcomed the response by the government in trying to contain the situation and provide assistance,” said the agency spokesman based in Geneva, Adrian Edwards. A UNHCR team has been sent to the coastal city of Durban to assess the situation and identify where the organisation can support government and civil society partners in their response.
The displaced foreign nationals are grouped in four tented shelters for displaced people established by the local Disaster Management Centre.
In an interview with South African news television station eNCA last week, Zimbabwe Ambassador to South Africa Mr Isaac Moyo said Zimbabweans were disappointed about the xenophobic attacks but the Government would not allow them to take the law into their own hands in retaliation.
He said the two countries were now in dialogue over the barbaric attacks on Zimbabweans in that country.
“We are in dialogue with the SA government over these issues. We understand the explanations they have given us and we are also able to make our own judgments,” said Mr Moyo.
“We would wish that Zimbabweans in this country (SA) are protected but I don’t think that this . . . will affect our good relationship . . . We think we can resolve it through our governments established channels.”
Mr Moyo said Zimbabwean Government would not allow its citizens to break the law in retaliation to xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans.
“Zimbabwe Government, of course is not about to let Zimbabwe nationals take the law into their own hands,” he said.
Mr Moyo said if there are issues to be tackled with the South African government this would be a matter between the two governments.
“We would wish that no Zimbabweans would really break the law by way of expressing their disappointment,” he said. “We understand that they are very disappointed. We sympathise with that position.”
Ambassador Moyo urged all the Zimbabweans to allow normal processes to deal with the matter.
Sadc urged to dialogue
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.
Xenophobia: Zim woman decapitated
Lovemore Mataire Senior Reporter
A Zimbabwean woman, Mrs Naume Garusa (41), has become the latest victim of horrific xenophobic attacks after her body was found with her head decapitated following violent clashes in the Houghton suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, last Thursday.Speaking at her funeral wake at a relative’s home in Mufakose, Harare, her son Brain Garusa, who is a student at the University of Zimbabwe, said he was shocked to receive reports of his mother’s death just two days after talking to her on her mobile phone.
“I am still in a state of shock because just a few days before her disappearance I had spoken to her. She had promised to send some money the following day.
“I asked her about the xenophobic attacks and she said the situation was tense but calm,” said Brian.
Mr Emmanuel Mhondiwa, who is brother to the deceased, said the family was devastated with the manner in which Mrs Garusa lost her life after working in South Africa for more than 12 years.
“She was the sole breadwinner to her children following the death of her husband and she had done so well as to be able to send one of them to university. When we started seeing images of xenophobic attacks on television we never imagined that our own flesh and blood could soon be a victim,” said Mr Mhondiwa.
He said his sister was reported missing on Thursday after some xenophobic disturbances in Johannesburg and the following day her body was found by police in a nearby bushy area with her head decapitated. Mr Mhondiwa said relatives in South Africa confirmed that his sister had been attacked by marauding xenophobic elements who targeted her as she came from her workplace.
“She has been working in South Africa since 2002 and her papers, including a work permit, were in order. We just don’t understand how fellow Africans could do this to another human being. We urge our Government to urgently deal with this matter as most deaths are not being reported,” Mr Mhondiwa said.
University of Zimbabwe Student Executive Council secretary-general Valentine Masaiti, who was part of a large contingent of students who visited the Mhondiwa family in Mufakose to commiserate with their fellow student, appealed to Government to liaise with the South African government to ensure that peace prevailed and reduce the loss lives. Mr Mhondiwa said Mrs Garusa’s body is expected to arrive in Zimbabwe tomorrow and will be buried in Chikombedzi, Chiredzi, on Wednesday.
400 repatriated from S. Africa
Thupeyo Muleya in DURBAN, South Africa
THE first batch of 407 Zimbabweans who were displaced during the xenophobia-motivated attacks in the Chatsworth area of Durban in South Africa left for Zimbabwe last night by road via Beitbridge Border Post in a convoy of six luxury buses and a haulage truck.They are expected to arrive in Zimbabwe late today.
These were part of the more than 3 000 people housed in nine tents at the Chatsworth holding camp with Mozambican nationals for the past seven days.
The transport was provided by the Government of Zimbabwe to repatriate the victims and their luggage.
The group, comprising 112 woman, 92 children and 203 men, was enthusiastic to go home. The Zimbabwe Embassy assisted them with food and transport.
Speaking during the send-off ceremony, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Isaac Moyo, said the victims had gone through basic vetting to confirm their nationality.
Several people including South African women tried their luck to claim Zimbabwean citizenship without success.
“We have hired buses to transport our people from Durban to Zimbabwe by road. They will enter through Beitbridge Border Post where a reception and support centre has already been set up in preparation for their onward transportation and integration at their respective homes,” said Mr Moyo.
He said today they will be processing repatriation documents for over 400 people at the Phoenix holding centre which houses Zimbabweans, Malawians, Kenyans and Batswana.
“These will be repatriated to Zimbabwe by the end of the day today or on Tuesday morning. We have since addressed them and told them what we expect from them so that we can assist them,” he said.
Mr Moyo added that he had been invited to attend an Imbizo called by the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and other traditional leaders to find a lasting solution to the ongoing xenophobia-motivated attacks on foreigners.
He urged Zimbabweans living in South Africa to be calm as they were engaging the host government at various strategic and diplomatic levels.
“Those who feel the pressure should not be anxious but seek assistance from the embassy in Pretoria or the consulate in Johannesburg. They must generally know that the Zimbabwean Government is concerned with what is happening to them,” he said.
He also commended the host government for assisting during the identification and documentation of those who needed repatriation.
It is reported that close to 100 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks that have left six people dead and thousands of immigrants homeless.
African Union and Sadc Chairman President Mugabe has condemned the anti-African immigrant violence in South Africa, imploring Africans to treat each other with dignity.
Addressing thousands of people at the 35th Independence Day Anniversary celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Saturday, President Mugabe said the violent scenes seen in South Africa should never occur again..
“I want now to express our sense of shock and disgust as we abhor the incident that happened in Durban where some five or six Africans were burned to death deliberately by some members of the South African Zulu community.
“We understand it was a protest against the influx into South Africa of or by citizens from neighbouring countries. The act of treating other Africans in that horrible way cannot be condoned by anyone and whether these are followers of the Zulu King Zwelithini or the followers of some other misled members of the South African community, we say on our own behalf and behalf of Sadc, as indeed on behalf of the African Union, that (that) must never happen again, never happen again in South Africa or any other country.
“Our own African people, on the African continent, must be treated with dignity.”
The President said the matter could have been dealt with in more dignified ways if the xenophobes felt strongly about the presence of foreigners in their country.
He commended South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma for denouncing the violence, and said Government was working to repatriate affected Zimbabweans.
Zim sets up xenophobia victim centre
The Civil Protection Unit has established a reception and support centre at the Beitbridge Border Post in preparation for the arrival of victims of xenophobia from South Africa, whose first batch is expected tomorrow. The reception centre has a carrying capacity of 1 000 people and can offer overnight accommodation to 600 adults and 40 children per day.
CPU director Mr Madzudzo Pawadyira said in an interview yesterday that they were ready to receive more than 1 500 Zimbabweans fleeing xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
“We have had initial arrangements to facilitate arrival and carrying of people from Beitbridge to their respective places,” he said.
“We are working under the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and have already sent a team to Beitbridge to resuscitate the current facilities where these people will be assisted.” Mr Pawadyira said they would continue engaging stakeholders to ensure that the victims of xenophobia get the necessary assistance upon their arrival.
Reports indicate that the victims will be transported to Zimbabwe by the South Africa’s Home Affairs department and would be handed over to authorities at the reception and support centre.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa Mr Isaac Moyo said on Thursday that they had completed the identification and processing of repatriation documents for those who were displaced during the ongoing attacks in Durban.
“We have witnessed that there has been massive looting and ransacking in the houses belonging to our people,” he said. “More people have come forward in need of assistance to recover the properties they left behind in the houses.”
According to South African police, 100 people have been arrested in connection with the Durban attacks. Chiefs and churches in Zimbabwe yesterday condemned the xenophobic attacks as barbaric and urged Government to intervene to protect locals who are living in the neighbouring country.
The chiefs said they were going to approach the South African House of Chiefs to express their displeasure.
Speaking at a press conference, chiefs council president Chief Fortune Charumbira said South Africans were failing to understand the causes of unemployment in their country. “They should go back to the basics of the structure of their economy and find out who owns wealth and resources,” he said.
“The whites still control every sector of the economy. Unemployment is as a result of apartheid.”
He said it was unfortunate that a traditional leader, King Goodwill Zwelithini, became the champion of fighting fellow blacks, saying Africans were known to be hospitable.
Speaking at the same press conference, Chief Zvimba said South Africans should realise that they were also strewn around the continent before their independence.
Church leaders also castigated the xenophobic attacks, which have led to some deaths and left hundreds of foreigners displaced.
Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe’s Bishop Trevor Manhanga said it was sad that South Africans were attacking other nationals who contributed to the well-being of their country.
“South Africa was born out of efforts and sacrifice of the majority of nations in Sub-Saharan Africa and now it treats the nationals of those self-same nations as vermin,” he said.
“The church stands against such behaviour and must speak out and act against this tragedy of indescribable proportions that is unveiling before our very eyes. The Bible is clear in Exodus 22 verse 21 when God speaks to Israelites: ‘Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner for you were foreigners in Egypt.’
“And again in Psalm 146:9: ‘The Lord watches over the foreigner . . .’
“This gives the church and Christians clear instructions on how they are to relate to foreigners in their midst — and that is to treat them with concern and compassion. Sadly, this is not happening in South Africa,” Bishop Manhanga said.
LATEST: King Zwelithini calls imbizo against xenophobia
King Goodwill Zwelithini has called an imbizo on Monday in response to pressure that he add his voice to moves to bring an end to xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu announced this morning that the monarch, whose comments that foreigners should pack up and go back home are seen as having sparked the violence, had informed government last night of his intention to call the mass meeting.
Mchunu said the imbizo, which would be attended by the province’s traditional leaders, had come after several discussions with the monarch, who last weekend had continued to claim he had been misquoted, some two weeks into the violence.
The province’s cooperative governance and traditional affairs ministry would assist with staging the imbizo, likely to be held at Currie’s Fountain Stadium.
In the meantime, the monarch was looking at going live on radio and television to call for calm.
Mchunu said the imbizo would remove any opportunity for those who wanted to carry out attacks on foreigners using the excuse of the monarch’s comments.
The about-turn by King Zwelithini comes after a series of meetings with provincial and national government and increasing pressure from the religious sector and civil society that he play a personal role in calling for calm.
Mchunu said the proposal around the imbizo had first been discussed at a meeting between the king and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Monday night.
Durban and surrounding areas were quiet this morning, with no violence reported overnight according to SAPS spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker.-Citypress
Zwelithini likens immigrants to lice, ants
ZULU King Goodwill Zwelithini likened foreigners living in South Africa to ants and lice in a recent public speech which was a throwback to the inflammatory utterances that fanned the Rwandan genocide in 1994 where over one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed over an eight-month period.
During the approximate 100-day period from April 7, 1994, to mid-July, an estimated 500 000–1 000 000 Rwandese were killed.
The Hutu established a propaganda radio station RTLM and a newspaper called Kangura that urged the extermination of the Tutsi’s whom they labelled cockroaches urging Hutus to “cut down the tall trees”.
Tutsis are generally lanky and taller than Hutus.
Analysts said the effect of Zwelithini’s statement was to dehumanise foreigners in the eyes of the killers so that they would not have any qualms in quashing vermin.
King Zwelithini said he was not afraid to tell foreigners to leave because he was not an elected politician.
“The time is now for us to have a say,” he said. “I would like to ask the South African government to help us. We must deal with our own lice. In our heads, let’s take out the ants and leave them in the sun. We are asking that immigrants must take their bags and go where they come from.”
King Zwelithini’s speech was followed by xenophobic attacks that have claimed five people, including one Zimbabwean in Durban as the situation remains tense for foreigners living in South Africa amid reports over 2000 have been displaced.
Analysts have warned that King Zwelithini’s remarks could lead to genocide as the attacks were no longer xenophobic, but simply targeted at fellow Africans, which made the Afrophobia.
King Zwelithini blamed the ills facing South Africa on foreigners.
“It is painful to me when I look at the country that our forefathers and thousands of people fought for become a criminal den,” he said
“There is nothing more painful to me; I don’t sleep thinking about these things. That what kind of people that God has placed me amongst us who do not listen?
“In 2015, we are talking about South Africans as people who don’t want to listen, who don’t want to work, who are thieves, who rape children, housebreakers, lazy people who don’t want to work the land. They are people when, if other nations look at them, will say let’s go and eat the inheritance of the stupid people.
“As I’m talking to you now, there are all sorts of things hanging outside the stores, they brought untidiness to our streets, its filthy, you can’t even see what these stores were (with) foreigners in these areas,” he said in statements that went viral and triggered attacks on foreigners in Durban, the capital of Kwazulu Natal Province.
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini can be dragged before international tribunals over his utterances which invariably incited South Africans to unleash terror on foreign nationals in that country, Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana has said.
Mr Tomana said the victims of xenophobia, which has claimed five lives, including one Zimbabwean in recent days and left thousands displaced, could also sue the South African government for damages.
He was speaking in an interview after giving a lecture at the National Defence College on the need to balance the protection of human rights and national security.
“South Africa is guilty of breaching international law and unless they do something to address that violation they will stand condemned in front of all right thinking international citizens,” said Mr Tomana.
Mr Tomana said foreigners living in South Africa also enjoyed the protection of their rights in terms of the South African Constitution.
“Those rights that are protected are actually being violated,” he said. “It actually creates the basis for you to claim damages.”
Mr Tomana said the obtaining situation across the Limpopo placed an obligation on the South African government to take appropriate measures to stop xenophobic attacks.
“The South African government must account for the culprits and redress the injury that has been afflicted on those that have been victims of the barbaric behaviour,” he said.
Mr Tomana also urged governments from where the victims come from “to insist that justice must be done”.
The Zulu King now faces a charge of hate speech and violating human rights from Western Cape organiser of the SA National Defence Union.
Mr Tim Flack, famously booted out of a Parliament committee meeting in 2013 for wearing shorts, said he was spurred into action after watching complaints on Twitter that not enough was being done to stop xenophobic violence in South Africa by the country’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
He decided to go ahead and lay the charge online on the SA Human Rights Commission’s website, for allegedly inciting violence, and sedition.
He said the commission acknowledged his complaint, telling him it had been referred to its KwaZulu-Natal office.
The rights Flack alleges were violated by the king include the rights to dignity, security, life, movement and residence, contained in the Bill of Rights.
This followed reports of a speech he made in Pongola, KwaZulu- Natal, towards the end of March in which the king complained about crime and dirty streets.
SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena could not immediately confirm Flack’s complaint, but said he had just returned from an SAHRC trip to KwaZulu-Natal, which included a visit to the king’s office for a similar complaint received a few weeks ago.
He would not say who had laid that complaint, nor the outcome of the meeting at the king’s office.
City Press reported that king said his words had been lost in translation and that he had been misquoted.
Mangena said SAHRC team had visited camps housing displaced people and lamented the poor conditions there, which included two children being taken to hospital by ambulance to be treated for diarrhoea.
Heavy police presence in Gauteng’s xenophobic hot spots
Johannesburg – Police are maintaining a heavy presence in Jeppestown and Cleveland, in central Johannesburg, and Makause in Primrose, on the East Rand, following a spate of xenophobic activity in the areas, Gauteng Deputy Commissioner Theko Pharasi said on Friday.
“We [are] on the ground, we will reinforce and make sure we are at all corners of the province,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.
He said those who were chasing foreign nationals out of the country were “not human” and urged both sides to communicate with one another.
“Dialogue ensures that we live in peace. We are there for our citizens and will ensure that we will normalise the situation.”
A total of 18 people have been arrested for malicious damage to property after a number of shops were damaged and looted along Jules Street in Jeppestown and Cleveland since Wednesday.
Gauteng police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini said 12 of the 18 were arrested between Thursday night and Friday morning. Six others were arrested on Wednesday night.
Dlamini said about 50 foreign nationals had sought refuge at the Cleveland police station on Wednesday night following the attacks and threats. They have since returned to their homes.
State Security Minister David Mahlobo told Eyewitness News in an interview earlier that he suspected the attacks on foreign nationals, that started in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to Gauteng, were part of a “co-ordinated effort”.
Five people, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed since unrest broke out last weekend. On Thursday, a peace march against xenophobia turned violent when the police clashed with pockets of protesters.
Earlier this week, messages warning foreigners of imminent attacks in Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria were spread via SMS and WhatsApp.
“Just those prank messages is a co-ordinated effort,” said Mahlobo. “But the intelligence services, they are hard at work.
“We know that there are instigators in those various communities and these are the individuals that we are going to bring… to book.”
The minister said citizens would not just wake up one morning and decide to embark on violent action.
Pharasi told reporters that the messages were attempts to cause tension between South Africans and foreign nationals. He said police were investigating the source of the messages.
On Thursday, public order police officers fired rubber bullets at a group of hostel dwellers in Wattville on the outskirts of Actonville in Benoni.
Actonville’s police spokesperson, Ramothakhi Maqabe, said police were responding to threats of xenophobic action against foreign nationals in the area.
Maqabe said a handful of Public Order Police (POP) entered the hostel to check for any irregular activity. Some of the hostel dwellers were gathered outside the hostel across the road from several shops.
“[They were] singing and threatening to loot the foreign-owned shops,” said Maqabe.
Police officers fired rubber bullets and released tear gas as they attempted to push the men back inside the hostel.
He said police had advised locals to be on the alert and most of the shop owners opposite the hostel closed shop on Thursday. It was not immediately clear whether the shops had re-opened on Friday. – news24
Xenophobia: Zim businessmen appeal for supplies
Harare – An organisation of Zimbabwean businessmen in South Africa appealed on Friday for donations of blankets, nappies, food and cooking utensils to help hundreds of Zimbabweans caught up in xenophobic attacks in and around Durban.
“Many of the families left their homes with only the clothes on their backs,” the Zimbabwe Business Network said in a statement, claiming that the situation of displaced Zimbabweans was “worse than is being reported in the media”.
“They are in desperate need of food, supplies and assistance of any kind to allow them to transition through this heart-wrenching time,” the group said in a statement.
“Many are still unsure where to go and are sleeping in open fields and pavements without any shelter or blankets,” the statement added.
The network appealed for donations of tinned food, fruit, vegetables and other goods to be taken to the Zimbabwean consulate in Johannesburg.
Consular and embassy officials have travelled to Durban and are trying to help the displaced.
Zimbabwe is preparing to repatriate at least 1 000 of its nationals from Durban on Sunday.
At least two Zimbabweans are believed to have been killed in the violence. “The situation is truly heart-breaking and the business community needs to act,” the statement said. – news24
Attacks on foreigners could hamper SA economic recovery
Xenophobic attacks on African immigrants in the port city of Durban, which escalated over the past week could cost South Africa high-yielding investments provided by the international business communities.
Harold Ngalawa, the high-profile macro-economist at the University of KwaZulu Natal, believes this could lead to social instability, a situation investors believe carries too much risk.
Another economist, who did not want to be named, said the reasons for violence against immigrants was that most black South Africans were unemployed. “This unemployed group vent their frustrations on foreigners because they feel less fortunate in comparison” he said. Most foreigners are said to be either gainfully employed or own a business. This is against statistics, which indicate that 25 percent of black South African are unemployed.
There are also claims that the attacks in the port city of Durban were fuelled by statements made by Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini. He reportedly said foreigners should go back to their home countries because “they are changing the nature of South African communities with their goods.” He added, in speech at a “moral regeneration” event in Pongola, KwaZulu Natal province, that foreigners are enjoying the wealth that should have been meant for local people.
President Jacob Zuma has, however, spoken out against the attacks on foreigners in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, saying the government is “deeply concerned”.
“We need to discuss and agree to be orderly, not chaotic. We don’t want to show anger because anger does not build nations, it destroys nations,” Eye Witness News quoted him as saying. VENTURES AFRICA
BREAKING NEWS: Big Nuz cancel Zim show
Award winning kwaito group Big Nuz have canceled their show scheduled for Friday in Bulawayo to concentrate on taking part in efforts to end the xenophobic attacks in their home country of SA.
The group has dismissed speculation that they have canceled the trip to Zimbabwe because they fear violence from Zimbabweans.
More to follow…
Zim MPs urge SA to take action against xenophobia
A group of Zimbabwean lawmakers on Wednesday delivered a petition to the South African embassy in Harare, asking for action to be taken against the wave of recent xenophobic attacks.
Jessie Majome from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, who led the delegation of six MPs from across Zimbabwe’s political divide, said South Africans “can’t have their cake and eat it”.
“Here in Zimbabwe we support South African businesses, which sell goods and conduct trade. The South African people can’t have their cake and eat it,” she said.
The petition, a copy of which was seen by News24, calls on Pretoria to take “decisive and effective measures to stop the slaughter of Zimbabweans and fellow African brothers and sisters”.
Zimbabwean embassy officials have already travelled to Durban where they will try to assist their citizens caught up or threatened by the violence, according to a report in the official Herald newspaper.-SABC
LATEST: Zanu-PF condemns xenophobia
ZANU PF has called for the immediate cessation of xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals saying the continued violence makes a mockery of the persistent calls for unity in the SADC region.
In a statement, ZANU PF national spokesperson Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo said the escalating xenophobic attacks were an anti-thesis of the current good relations existing between Zimbabwe and South Africa which were further cemented by recent successful signing of various economic agreements by the two countries.
“ZANU PF is alarmed by the xenophobic violence perpetrated on foreign nationals including hundreds of Zimbabweans living in South Africa. Our President, Cde R.G Mugabe recently concluded a very successful state visit to South Africa where a number of important agreements to advance our economies were signed. None was signed to promote xenophobia,” said Ambassador Moyo.
He said South Africa has an obligation according to the Vienna Declaration to ensure that it protect the lives of all foreign nationals.
Charge laid against Zulu King for human rights violations
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini faces another charge of hate speech and violating human rights – this time by the Western Cape organiser of the SA National Defence Union.
Tim Flack, famously booted out of a Parliament committee meeting in 2013 for wearing shorts, said he was spurred into action after watching complaints on Twitter that not enough was being done to stop xenophobic violence in South Africa by the country’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
He said they were rounding on Gigaba’s spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete and getting “big mouthed and sitting around having tea” but not doing anything about it.
”I decided I should probably also not be just tweeting about it, I should do something myself,” said Flack.
”It seems that couch activism and having hashtags doesn’t do anything.”
He decided to go ahead and lay the charge online on the SA Human Rights Commission’s website, for allegedly inciting violence, and sedition. He said the commission acknowledged his complaint, telling him it had been referred to its KwaZulu-Natal office.
The rights Flack alleges were violated by the king include the rights to dignity, security, life, movement and residence, contained in the Bill of Rights.
This followed reports of a speech he made in Pongola, KwaZulu- Natal, towards the end of March in which the king complained about crime and dirty streets.
Saying, ”forgive me but I must speak”, according to an eNCA translation of the clip from Zulu, he said, reportedly, that immigrants should ”take their bags and go”.
”So I cited those [rights] and mentioned that I believed he had incited xenophobic attacks and destabilised portions of the country.”
”I want him to be criminally charged for this, and he needs to be held accountable in terms of the law. He can’t expect there to be no repercussions.”
SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena could not immediately confirm Flack’s complaint, but said he had just returned from an SAHRC trip to KwaZulu-Natal, which included a visit to the king’s office for a similar complaint received a few weeks ago.
He would not say who had laid that complaint, nor the outcome of the meeting at the king’s office.
City Press reported that king said his words had been lost in translation and that he had been misquoted.
Mangena said SAHRC team had visited camps housing displaced people and lamented the poor conditions there, which included two children being taken to hospital by ambulance to be treated for diarrhoea.
”The situation is grave. It is very sad. The places that these people are staying at are not really meant for a long period stay. There are concerns about health, especially women and children.”
The commission called on authorities to make sure they are properly housed. Mangena said there had been simmering tensions in KwaZulu-Natal for a long time – mostly around businesses, and the looting was evidence that poverty was playing an important role in it.-SABC
Xenophobia is our story: Masha
Actor Tumisho Masha says xenophobia is our story and South African artists need to tell these stories and not let the outside world tell our stories for us.
He says we cannot let overseas production houses to come and write and tell our stories for us.
“They even hire international artists to play us when telling our stories. This cannot be happening” says Masha.
“The African Renaissance is about to happen and the industry is not ready. We have a crises where actors, presenters and voice over artists, mostly young people who come into the industry with lots of talent yet they have no knowledge of how the business works” says Masha.
Masha joined the African National Congress Progressive Youth in Business under the media diffusion where they bring together people in the industry to teach them things they do not learn in school.
“The Film and Television Industry is a profession and people need to be trained as such. We need know how to handle our own things and not leave it all the managers.”
He says if artists know how to manage themselves they would avoid the culture of artists dying poor, and others having to donate money for them.-SABC
Calm restored in Durban following xenophobic attacks
Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale says police are still deployed, but no new incidents of xenophobic attacks have been reported.
He says the violence has spread to other parts of KwaZulu-Natal, although the situation is under control.
“We had issues in Pietermaritzburg last night where three tuck shops were looted. There was another foreign national who was robbed of his vehicle. The police deployments are in place in those affected areas, continuing to monitor the situation, but it is relatively calm.”
Makgale says there were also a few minor incidents in the Rustenburg area in the North West.
Makgale says police say they are coping with the xenophobic attacks through the support of different government departments, civil society and communities in general in handling the attacks and looting of foreign owned shops.
He adds that the police have activated their Joint Operation Centres across the country.-SABC
SA women struggle to leave violence-hit Durban with Zim husbands
Durban – South African women are having trouble leaving the country with their Zimbabwean husbands who have been displaced by xenophobic violence in Durban, reports said on Thursday.
At least 10 South African women want to travel to Zimbabwe with their husbands but don’t have the right documents, said Isaac Moyo, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa.
“The embassy was encountering challenges in cases where undocumented South African women were insisting on travelling to Zimbabwe with their husbands,” the official Herald newspaper reported Moyo as saying.
“About 10 undocumented South African women were insisting on travelling with their husbands,” the paper added.
Moyo said that embassy officials were working with the South African authorities to document Zimbabweans who have taken refuge at the Chatsworth Displacement Camp in Durban.
“We met with South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Mr Malusi Gigaba and the premier for Kwazulu Natal Province to get an appreciation of their plans to arrest the volatile situation and assist the victims,” Moyo told the paper.
“We are very hopeful that a solution will be arrived at soon.”
Zimbabwe’s foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi says that at least one Zimbabwean has died and a total of 800 have been displaced by xenophobic attacks in Durban.
Thousands expected at ‘peace march’ in Durban
Durban – Thousands of people were expected to take part in a “peace march” through central Durban on Thursday morning in a bid to stop xenophobic violence, organisers said.
“We are expecting about 10 000 people to join the march this morning. There are 1 000 marshals, including 200 of our members,” Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association Ethekwini chairperson Zamindlela Mbele said at the Curries Fountain stadium, from where the march would start.
Several police cars, including a Nyala, were parked outside the stadium. Marshals in orange bibs were gathered on the sports field under an overcast sky. The marshals had been split into two groups, one to lead the march and the other to follow with the crowd. Some of them sat on the stands singing as they waited.
Religious and political leaders were expected to take the marchers through the city centre to City Hall. It was scheduled to get underway at 10:00.
Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said on Wednesday a “strong contingent” of officers would monitor proceedings.
The xenophobic violence spread to Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday. Five people, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed in the Durban area during violence that began last week.-NEWS24
Foreigners ask Primrose cops for help
Police issue warning ahead of peace march
Xenophobia and bloodshed in His Majesty’s kingdom
Ranjeni Musunamy Correspondent
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has up to now not said anything that has had a major impact on life and politics in post-democracy South Africa. He has just been there, presiding and chewing up a large proportion of KwaZulu-Natal’s budget. Suddenly His Majesty has been catapulted in the spotlight after his royal musings sparked a wave of violent xenophobic attacks. It is has fallen on government and the police to try to contain the violence, with even the security cluster ministers trundling out trying to clean up the mess. The king, meanwhile, has been the one receiving an apology instead of making one.
It is a major minefield for government leaders to navigate the current firestorm of violent attacks in KwaZulu-Natal. They need to quell and discourage the violence against foreign nationals while trying to avoid saying the word “xenophobia” and without trampling on King Goodwill Zwelithini’s toes.
The king reportedly said three weeks ago at a “moral regeneration” event in Pongola: “We are requesting those who come from outside to please go back to their countries.”
In what appears to be a consequence of this statement, foreign nationals have been attacked and their shops looted in different parts of Durban, with five people being killed and 48 people arrested. Hundreds of foreign nationals who have been displaced from their homes are being sheltered in temporary camps.
On Tuesday evening, gangs of people carrying knives and sticks were still on the hunt for people from other African countries. Earlier in the day, the Durban city centre resembled a war zone, with burning tyres and blasts of stun grenades during running battles between police and looters.
This all as government leaders are scrambling to get the situation under control and ensure there is no more bloodshed.
It would also help if they were not trapped in a cultural conundrum, unable to call the king to order.
As things stand, the containment mission has become a royal egg dance.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba already got into hot water by saying last week that leaders should refrain from using inflammatory language. Gigaba was addressing foreign nationals displaced by the xenophobic attacks and was obviously trying to settle their fears. But his remarks were perceived by the king as an insult to him, even though Gigaba was speaking generally and mentioned no names.
The Mercury reported that during an induction of a traditional leader in KwaMaphumulo outside Stanger on Saturday, the king said in apparent response to Gigaba’s remarks: “Labaholi bangakhulumi engathi salusa ndawonye. (These leaders should not act as if we herded cattle together.)
“I ask political leaders that we should respect each other. Democracy should not make them feel like demigods.”
It had been expected that the king would use his address at the inauguration of the new chief to retract his comments and call his subjects involved in the xenophobic violence to order. He had apparently been gently lobbied and nudged in that direction – it is disrespectful to tell His Majesty what to do – during meetings with national ministers and the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Senzo Mchunu.
You would have thought that by now, the monarch would have seen the consequences of his careless statements and decided on his own to do damage control. He was in fact in Durban on Monday night as the violence continued in parts of the city. But instead of making a public appearance, or issuing a statement to apologise for his remarks and demand an end to the violence, he was meeting government officials to “receive” an apology.
The Mercury reported that Gigaba, accompanied by Mchunu, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko and State Security Minister David Mahlobo, met the king at a Durban hotel on Monday night to smooth things over. Gigaba’s spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete told the newspaper the meeting was not for the minister to apologise but for the security cluster ministers to set in place a plan to restore stability.
Why then would that plan be discussed with the king, unless it was again an effort to coax him into making a public statement?
On Tuesday morning, the security cluster ministers, led by Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula addressed a media briefing in Cape Town on the “security stability of our country”, including what they called “sporadic attacks on foreign nationals”. Mapisa-Nqakula said additional law enforcement officers had been mobilised from around the country and deployed to the affected areas.
All district disaster management centres have been placed on high alert and a 24-hour call centre has been established. Government was working closely with the UNHCR, UNICEF as well as non-governmental organisations to provide food, psycho-social and other support to those affected, she said.
As with the outbreak of attacks against foreign nationals in Gauteng earlier this year, government leaders are still bizarrely avoiding the use of the word “xenophobia”. Government is also being mindful to take into account the concerns of local communities so as not to be seen to be favouring the interests of the foreign nationals.
And this is precisely why it will take more than the deployment of police to arrest the problem of prejudice and attacks on foreign nationals. For as long as government avoids calling it what it is, it shuts down the dialogue and ability to properly confront the problem of xenophobia. While government is trying to contain the attacks and deal with embassies wanting to repatriate their citizens, the marauding mobs have yet to be addressed directly about their ignorance and prejudice.
On Tuesday the Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada foundations issued a joint statement against the xenophobic attacks. “This is the latest manifestation of a phenomenon which has been troubling our democracy for a long time,” the foundations said.
And then as close to the bone as you could get: “For too long South Africans in leadership positions have either ignored the crisis or stoked the fires of hatred . . .
“We call on all South Africans to take responsibility for embracing the hospitality that defines our democratic order and to work together to find solutions to a problem which is destroying lives and bringing South Africa shame internationally,” the foundations said.
Today, Mchunu and eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo will lead a “peace march” through the Durban city centre to demonstrate opposition to violence against foreign nationals.
But just as there are efforts to bring sanity and restore order, there is also the continuation of idiotic statements that could further fan the flames of violence. President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward continues to share his pearls of wisdom on the issue publicly. He said government should stop “unnecessarily accommodating” foreign nationals as South Africa was sitting on a ticking time bomb.
As with every other problem besieging the country, the leadership vacuum causes chaos to flourish.
The violence and mayhem can be stopped through a security operation, but also needs strong messaging from leaders across society. And a massive education and socialisation programme needs to be rolled out to stop the hatred and prejudice against foreign nationals.
Hopefully this will also help His Majesty (who has a Swazi wife) and Zuma Jnr (born in Swaziland) to overcome their chauvinism and ignorance. Or even more, that their words, ill-considered as they are, could one day be used as a rallying cry for murderers who may just decide the moment has come to cleanse the country of all foreigners. – Daily Maverick.
800 Zimbabweans displaced, 1 dead…•Govt sets up inter-ministerial team •ready to evacuate citizens
Lovemore Mataire, Nyemudzai Kakore and Thupeyo Muleya— ONE Zimbabwean died in escalating xenophobic attacks in Durban, South Africa, as Government yesterday set up an inter-ministerial team to facilitate the immediate return of those displaced by the attacks. Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said in a statement yesterday that reports indicated that the attacks were serious and close to 800 Zimbabweans had been displaced and fled to a camp established in Chatsworth, Durban.
“So far, it has been established that one Zimbabwean has died,” he said.
“As a result of these reports, Government decided that those Zimbabweans wishing to return home be facilitated to do so immediately.
“An inter-ministerial team has been put together at both ministerial and senior official level. The team is expeditiously putting in place the logistics as well as the resources necessary for this exercise in close liaison with the Zimbabwean Ambassador in South Africa and his staff.”
Minister Mumbengegwi said a number of Zimbabweans had expressed their wish to return home to embassy officials who visited Durban to assess the situation and discovered that it was tense.
This came as South African ambassador Mr Vusi Mavimbela said in an interview yesterday that his country lacked the capacity to deal with the flurry of xenophobic attacks targeting foreigners.
“The police, really, to be honest, if this thing spreads, the police don’t have the physical capacity to be everywhere and to arrest everybody who is involved,” he said.
“I know you watch South African TV you see things like service delivery protests that happen, flare up all the time in South Africa and the police have never been able to contain it.
Mr Mavimbela said the South African government needed to come up with a holistic approach in addressing socio-economic issues and immigration laws to reduce the competition for resources between South Africans and foreigners.
He spoke as the SA government warned foreigners against retaliating.
Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa Mr Isaac Moyo said in an interview yesterday that he was yet to confirm reports of the deaths of two Zimbabweans, among them a toddler.
He said over 2 000 foreigners, including Zimbabweans had been displaced.
Mr Moyo said the embassy, with the assistance of the host government, had started documenting Zimbabweans affected by the attacks who are at Chatsworth Camp in Durban.
“We met with South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Mr Malusi Gigaba and the premier for Kwazulu Natal Province to get an appreciation of their plans to arrest the volatile situation and assist the victims,” said Mr Moyo.
“We are very hopeful that a solution will be arrived at soon.”
Mr Moyo said the embassy was encountering challenges in cases where undocumented South African women were insisting on travelling to Zimbabwe with their husbands.
He said about 10 undocumented South African women were insisting on travelling with their husbands, while 120 Zimbabweans had left their properties under the attack of South Africans.
Mr Moyo said the situation was dire in Durban given the cold weather persisting there and the absence of adequate tents to house the displaced people.
The Durban violence outbreak follows similar violence in Soweto where foreign shops were looted and foreigners displaced three weeks ago.
The attacks started after Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini said in a public speech that foreigners in South Africa should return to their countries and the remarks were widely viewed as having sparked the xenophobic attacks.
In 2008, in the worst violence to date against foreigners, over a dozen people were killed — some burnt alive through neck-lacing, a barbaric, painful slow-killing method in which a burning tyre, filled with petrol, is placed around one’s neck.
At the time, the then South African president Mbeki, horrified by the violence, said South Africans’ heads were “bowed in shame.”
Durban attacks a disgrace for SA: ANC
The African National Congress (ANC) on Wednesday say South Africans should be ashamed of the on-going “barbaric” attacks on foreign nationals that have left four people dead and displaced hundreds.“Regardless of the cause of these barbaric deeds, the ANC regards them as criminal acts against vulnerable and defenceless people who have sought refuge, solace and economic prosperity in our country,” the ruling party says after police largely failed to contain xenophobic violence in Durban on Tuesday.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says South Africa’s hard won democracy also belonged to the rest of the continent and many of those who have found themselves under attack hail from countries who had whole-heartedly supported the anti-apartheid struggle.“These unpardonable attacks against them are a shameful assault on our very humanity.
As South Africans, the far vast majority of whom are deeply rooted in values of humanity, solidarity and brotherhood, we are forced to once again hang our heads in shame in the face of these misguided and misplaced assaults.”He adds that South Africans could not blame poverty and unemployment for the attacks and extended the ruling party’s condolences to the victims of the attacks.“Ours is a nation that has faced and defeated the very worst of human brutality during apartheid, our people cannot be the ones to inflict such heinous cruelty on our fellowmen.”-SABC NEWS
Xenophobic attacks: SA won’t deploy army
South African police minister, Nathi Nhleko says he will not yet deploy the army to address the xenophobic attacks in Durban. Speaking on Morning Live on Wednesday, Mr Nhleko said government is working with different stakeholders to resolve the issue. He said they are looking for long term interventions that will avoid a recurrence of the attacks.
On Tuesday, shops belonging to Ethiopians and Somalians in Durban’s West Street were looted.
Police had to use tear gas to disperse the mob after tyres were burnt.
Meanwhile, the country’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has dismissed reports that he has apologised to King Goodwill Zwelithini for reprimanding him over the comments he made about foreign nationals.
Addressing displaced foreign nationals, Mr Gigaba said leaders should refrain from using inflammatory language.-SABC News
Flames of hate engulf Durban
The Durban city centre was a battlefield yesterday with mobs of South Africans attacking foreign-owned shops, and foreigners taking up arms to fight back.About 200 people stoned foreign-owned shops on Dr Pixley KaSeme Street (West Street), prompting riot police to shut down the area. The battles broke out within an hour of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba assuring diplomats from Nigeria, Somalia, Malawi, Mozambique and Ethiopia that their citizens would be protected.
At the same time the ministers of the justice, crime prevention and security cluster tried to assure the country that “everything was under control” and that there was no xenophobia.
They said the ongoing violence in Durban – which has left at least five people, including a 14-year-old, dead – was ideological.
The attacks spread further north last night. Two foreign-owned shops were looted during load-shedding in Verulam.
Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said the two shops were looted at 7pm.
“A case of business robbery has been opened. No-one was injured and a 31-year-old suspect was arrested. He will appear in court soon,” Naicker said.
Police remained on high alert in the Durban city centre last night.
In the past three weeks thousands of foreigners have been driven from their homes in Isipingo, Chatsworth, Umlazi, KwaMashu and Sydenham, and placed in transit camps in Isipingo and Chatsworth.
The violence followed comments King Goodwill Zwelithini made in Pongola last month that foreigners should leave South Africa. He has denied saying this.
Yesterday, police warned shop owners on Dr Pixley KaSeme Street to stay in their shops as they used stun grenades, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse the mob.
“Please help us. They want to kill us,” Ethiopian shop owner Aka Bob Amaha said. “We can’t stay in our shops waiting for them to burn us.”
Foreigners who own shops on Point Road declared they were not willing to “be prey for South Africans”. Armed with axes, machetes and sticks, about 1000 foreigners burned tyres, overturned bins and waited for the mob to arrive.
“We heard that they are attacking foreigners on West Street, and near The Workshop shopping centre so we are ready to fight back when they come here,” a Nigerian man said.
Dozens of foreigners sought refuge at the Diakonia Council of Churches building near the Victoria Embankment.
Paramedics treated four people in the city centre.
“Three patients were stabbed. One patient was burnt. All patients are stable,” Robert Mckenzie, a paramedic with the KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services, said.
He said the burn case was in Dr Pixley ka Seme Street and private ambulances transported two of the patients.
Earlier, Gigaba, who is leading the inter-ministerial team responsible for ending the xenophobic attacks, said the police would end the violence.
“We will arrest and prosecute to send the correct message.”
He said President Jacob Zuma had issued a directive to remove foreigners from scenes of violence and to provide them with temporary shelter until they could be reintegrated into communities.
Speaking at a briefing of the justice, crime prevention and security cluster in Cape Town, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said: “I can tell you now that this so-called xenophobia is not that. It’s more ‘Afrophobia’. It’s ideologically driven. But we are on top of it. We are in control and are handling the situation well.
“We have early-warning centres and a 24-hour hotline. But it requires the involvement of communities to stop this sporadic violence,” he said
Asked why the government was refusing to use the term xenophobia, Nhleko said the violence was not aimed at all foreigners.
“It is African on African. It is not on other nationalities.”
Asked about attacks at the weekend against Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, he again said the violence was ideologically driven.
“We have plans in place to address the violence. Like we did when it erupted in Soweto in January and like we did in 2008,” he said, referring to xenophobic violence that gripped the country seven years ago and left 63 people dead.
Ingrid Palmary, an associate professor at the Wits African Centre for Migration and Society, said the government’s comments were deeply frustrating.
“We are in the midst of some of the worst violence since the 1980s. It is targeted at foreigners, but the fact that it is not targeted at all foreigners doesn’t mean that it’s not xenophobic. The violence is still driven by anti-foreigner sentiment,” she said.
What was surprising was how much the government invested in saying the violence was not xenophobia, Palmary said.
“It’s alarming that there hasn’t been a consistent and strong message from our leaders, with even tacit support [of the attacks] emerging from some [leaders].”
Palmary said there had not been a successful prosecution for xenophobia since 2008.
“It’s clear people are getting away with this. Prosecutions are exactly where we should be focusing our attention on to send out strong messages that this will not be tolerated.
“[The increase of xenophobia] is something to be worried about. We must ask: if it’s so easy for the fundamental rights of one group to be trampled, who is next?”
Trish Erasmus, head of the Lawyers for Human Rights refugee and migrant rights programme, criticised Nhleko’s remarks that the situation was under control and that the violence was ideological.
“It’s all very well to have academic debates about the causes of xenophobia, which are important for future prevention strategies, but at the same time we need to realise that we are dealing with an urgent crisis. We need a more coherent and decisive response from the government. It’s clear the government hasn’t learnt from its mistakes from 2008.”
XENOPHOBIA TO AFROPHOBIA
Back in 2008, after a wave of killings of foreigners, former president Thabo Mbeki said South Africa “bowed its head in shame” and promised that all would be done to prevent attacks in future.
But since then there have been many outbreaks of violence aimed at foreigners, mostly from neighbouring African countries.
Mbeki’s government blamed criminal elements and refused to use the term “xenophobia”.
He said: “E verything I know about my people tells me that … [they] are not xenophobic. These masses are neither antipathetic towards, nor do they hate foreigners.”
As violence spread in Durban and surrounding areas this week, calls were made for President Jacob Zuma to address the nation.
His administration has resorted to issuing statements and holding press briefings condemning the violence.
Zuma has assigned three ministers to attend to the issue, which his officials insist should be called “Afrophobia”.
Seven years ago, Mbeki said his government would “do everything possible and necessary to ensure that we have no need in future to proffer this humble apology, which is inspired by genuine remorse”. – Staff reporter-Times Live
Jail xenophobic attackers: ANC Women’s League
The African National Congress Women’s League in KwaZulu-Natal today called for displaced foreigners to be helped by civil society – and for the perpetrators of xenophobic attacks to be jailed. Speaking out against the violence including destruction of property and the looting of shops in the province‚ ANCWL acting provincial secretary Weziwe Thusi said in a statement: “The savagery of the past few days has left close knit families broken and hundreds of people losing their hard-earned properties. As an organisation that has strong ties with all countries in the continent‚ we will never condone hatred which is perpetrated by just a few individuals”.
“We call on the police to arrest the perpetrators and for the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that they are prosecuted and given lengthy jail terms‚” said Thusi.
Although the provincial government and the eThekwini Municipality are providing help to displaced foreign nationals‚ Thusi said: “We call on our people to extend a hand of friendship to our foreign nationals who are fellow human beings”.
She said emergency shelters desperately needed donations of food‚ basic necessities‚ blankets and clothes.-Times Live
SA cops, goons in street battles…•Five foreigners killed since Friday •Concern xenophobia can turn genocidal
SOUTH African police fought running battles with hundreds of locals armed with knobkerries, pangas and rocks in the port city of Durban yesterday as a new wave of xenophobia showed no signs of abetting. Durban’s CBD witnessed most of the clashes between police, foreigners and locals, with a car set alight, stun grenades and tear gas canisters being fired.
Five people have died since Friday, starting with two Ethiopians who were petrol-bombed in the container they slept in and ran their small business from.
No Zimbabwean deaths have so far been reported.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo yesterday said Zimbabwe was watching with concern the unfolding wave of violence which he said appeared to be targeted at black Africans.
Whereas most media commentators have identified the violence as “xenophobia” — a hatred of foreigners — Prof Moyo used the word “Afrophobia”, which is a hatred of other Africans.
He warned that xenophobia could “easily mutate” into genocide.
“Xenophobia today can easily mutate into genocide tomorrow. Stop It,” the minister said on Twitter, using the hashtag #AfrophobiaInSAMustEnd.
Prof Moyo also took aim at Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, whose call for “foreigners to leave” appeared to have inflamed the latest anti-foreigner sentiment in KwaZulu Natal Province, whose capital is Durban.
“King Zwelithini must extinguish what he ignited. Xenophobia is a crime against humanity,” Prof Moyo tweeted in one of the first public reactions from a Zimbabwe Government official to the violence that has horrified many Zimbabweans.
Reports from South Africa said a crowd of about 700 people gathered at the end of Monty Naicker Road, where it intersects with Dr Yusuf Dadoo Road, in the Durban CBD — taunting police and baying for the blood of foreign nationals.
Police used water cannons and stun grenades to control the crowds. Pictures of a man showing injuries to his right leg circulated online with claims that he had been shot by police using rubber bullets.
As commuters headed home late in the afternoon, sirens wailed throughout the seaside city and a pall of smoke rose from the CBD.
Police spokesperson Jay Naicker said: “The police are still monitoring the situation.”
When asked to clarify unconfirmed reports on social media that a Pakistani national had been shot, or had been set alight, he replied: “We heard that there was a man injured but we cannot confirm at this stage as no case has been opened.” Rights group Amnesty International called on South Africa authorities to “launch full, transparent and independent investigations, and bring suspected perpetrators to account.”
“The prevailing culture of impunity must be stopped,” said Sicel’mpilo Shange-Buthane, executive director of Amnesty International-South Africa.
“Amnesty International has repeatedly appealed to the South African government, including in January this year, to develop a systematic plan involving the police and other agencies to prevent and protect refugees from targeted attacks,” he added.
Zimbabwean consul-general Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said: “Embassy officials arrived in Durban today (yesterday) to work with the host Government in identifying the affected people. Logistics will also be worked to assist those, including those without proper documentation, who are willing to return home and also how some can be integrated in communities willing to accommodate them. If there are gross cases we will be able to know them tomorrow.” The Durban violence outbreak follows similar uprisings in Soweto where foreign shops were looted and foreigners displaced three weeks ago.
In 2008, in the worst violence to date against foreigners, over a dozen people were killed – some burnt alive through necklacing, a barbaric slow-killing method in which a burning tyre is placed around one’s neck.
At the time, President Thabo Mbeki – horrified by the violence – said South Africans’ heads were “bowed in shame”.
“We’ve always known that regardless of the boundaries drawn by others to define us as different and separate from our kith and kin, and even despite our occupation of different spaces across the divides occasioned by the existence of the oceans that nature has formed, we share with those of whom we are part, a common destiny,” President Mbeki said.
South Africa is home to thousands of Zimbabweans, many of them illegal residents. Only last week, President Mugabe – on a State visit to Zimbabwe’s southern neighbour – thanked the South African government for its “tolerance” shown to Zimbabwean immigrants over the years.
“We owe you not just a gesture of thankfulness, which we must express, but we owe you that thankfulness for the tolerance there has been on the part of the government here, as our people have really offended your system by jumping the border and disturbing even the social system here,” the President said.
There have been calls by Zimbabweans on social media for locals to boycott a show by Durban-based group Big Nuz in protest against the xenophobic violence. The group is due to perform in Bulawayo on Friday.
Not everyone agrees with a boycott. One Twitter user shot back: “Might as well boycott all SA products in Zimbabwean shops over xenophia while you’re at it #slipperyslope.”
Another user @patphiri said: “So are people also going to boycott #SABC soapies/ SA PSL/ SA booze or #BigNuz are the fall guys?”
Meanwhile, Prof Moyo also hit back at ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s criticism of President Mugabe’s treatment of whites, saying Zimbabwe did not agree with the ANC’s view on blacks.
Prof Moyo tweeted a link to a story headlined “We differ with Mugabe on whites: Mantashe” and commented: “And we differ with ANC on blacks!”
“In Zanu-PF we reject Afrophobia,” Prof Moyo said in another tweet.
His comments were in reaction to Mantashe’s claim on Monday that the ANC “theorises colonialism differently to Zanu-PF” and has no desire to “drive white people into the sea”.
Ethiopian dies after xenophobia violence in KZN
Johannesburg – One of the two Ethiopian brothers who were burned by a rampaging mob in xenophobic violence in Durban has died, a community leader said on Sunday.
The two men were in their shop in Umlazi, south of Durban, when it was petrol-bombed on Friday night.
“The hospital has informed us that our brother [meaning a fellow Ethiopian] died. They said he died shortly after arriving in hospital,” said Ephraim Meskele, leader of the Ethiopian community in Durban.
Meskele said the other brother had severe burns and was “fighting for his life” in hospital.
“This is like a war zone. It’s like we are in Syria. I have never seen such cruelty,” Meskele told AFP.
Over a thousand mostly African foreign nationals have fled their homes in townships around Durban since xenophobic attacks and looting erupted two weeks ago.
They are currently housed in makeshift camps, as police and politicians attempt to restore order.
According to Meskele, the Ethiopian community was the worst affected.
Police said the reason for the outbreak in xenophobic attacks was unclear, with contradictory reports about the death toll.
According to police spokesperson Thulani Zwane, four people had died in the violence, but some media reports put the figure at six.
A total of 17 people have been arrested in two weeks.
Meskele blamed the police for failing to enough to prevent the orgy of violence and looting of foreign-owned shops in the townships.
“We have heard from our members that some police officers are actually encourage the looting. That is shameful,” said Meskele.
Violence against African immigrants in South Africa is common, with impoverished locals accusing foreigners of taking their jobs and business.
The government has condemned the violence, with President Jacob Zuma sending a team of officials to assess the situation.
“We reiterate that there can be no justification for attacking foreign nationals,” Zuma said on Sunday.
The latest round of xenophobic violence came just months after similar attacks around Soweto in Johannesburg.-News24
Zim minister’s views on xenophobia ‘hypocritical’
Harare – Former education minister David Coltart on Wednesday said that comments by a top official from President Robert Mugabe’s government slamming xenophobic violence in South Africa were “hypocrisy of the highest order”.
“One cannot pick and choose what types of xenophobia or racism are acceptable or not,” Coltart said in a Facebook post.
“One cannot say that it is fine to make inflammatory racist remarks against one race and then condemn xenophobia or racist behaviour directed against another group,” said the lawyer, who served as education minister during Zimbabwe’s 2009-13 coalition government.
Coltart was responding to Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.
Earlier this week Moyo had hit back at comments from the ANC’s Gwede Mantashe who said the governing South African party “had no desire to drive white people into the sea”.
Productive white farmers
Mantashe’s remarks may in part have been prompted by Mugabe’s declaration during a state visit to South Africa last week that he did not “want to see a white face”.
In his tweet hitting back at Mantashe, Moyo wrote: “We differ with the ANC on blacks!”
Coltart wrote: “To this day [Mugabe’s] Zanu-PF is still kicking productive white farmers off land, simply because they are whites who do not happen to support them.”
At least 13 white farmers have been killed and tens of thousands of black farm-workers have lost their jobs since Mugabe, now 91, began a programme of white farm takeovers in 2000.
The former education minister said many Zimbabweans who had fled to South Africa during recent years left due to a “succession of brutal and destructive policies implemented by Moyo’s party”.
Zimbabweans were on Wednesday mulling holding protests against xenophobia outside the South African embassy in Harare, according to social networking sites.-NEWS24