The African Union and SA President Ramaphosa condemn xenophobic violence

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The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa have condemned in the strongest terms, the incidents of violence against nationals of fellow African countries in South Africa. President Ramaphosa warned of action against criminals.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa have condemned in the strongest terms, the incidents of violence against nationals of fellow African countries in South Africa.

In a statement, the Chairperson said he is encouraged by arrests already made by the South African authorities but called “for further immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts, and that justice be done to those who suffered economic and other losses”.

The Chairperson reiterated the AU’s Commission continued commitment to support the South African government in addressing the root causes that led to these despicable acts, in order to promote peace and stability, within the framework of the African Union’s longstanding principles of continental solidarity.

Following days of brutal attacks on foreign African nationals by South Africans, the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has also condemned the violence against foreigners, and called on law enforcement agencies to act against those who commit xenophobic crimes.

Ramaphosa said, “I condemn the violence that has been spreading around a number of our provinces in the strongest terms. I’m convening the ministers in the security cluster today to make sure that we keep a close eye on these acts of wanton violence and find ways of stopping them”.

“The people of our country want to live in harmony; whatever concerns or grievances we may have, we need to handle them in a democratic way. There can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries,” President Ramaphosa added.

Gauteng (Johannesburg) and KwaZulu-Natal (Durban) have been the major hotspots for xenophobic violence, after two people were killed in the attacks.

Shops belonging to African immigrants were looted and burnt in the latest brutal attacks. There has been an uproar on social media following the latest Afrophobic attacks, with calls for stronger and decisive intervention by the government.

Religious and traditional groups, civil society organisations, various political organisations and concerned citizens in South Africa and across the continent have condemned the xenophobic and afrophobic violence, and urged the South African government to take concrete steps to end attacks against African foreigners. There have been calls for the government to prosecute perpetrators swiftly, and protect migrants, and refugees living in the country from violations of their human rights.

The attacks are a grave violation of their rights protected under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter), and there is need to ensure an environment in the country in which the rights of everyone including foreign nationals are protected.

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