The ‘X’ Word: Zuma Denies South Africans Are Xenophobic, Says They Just Hate Crime

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Written by Dana Sanchez

A planned demonstration against immigrants and foreign-born South Africans turned violent Friday as police tried to control the crowd with rubber bullets, water cannons and stun grenades, IBTimes reported.

Some South Africans have complained that immigrants are taking their jobs, or are dealing in drugs and prostitution. Some migrants had their businesses and homes and robbed and looted in the past week.

More than 100 people were arrested, the South African government tweeted.

From Eyewitness News. Story by Katleho Sekhotho.

President Jacob Zuma has described the outbreak of violence during Friday’s anti-immigrant march in Pretoria as complex, saying South Africans and foreign nationals need to be understanding of one another.

He says South Africa has a leading economy on the continent and that’s why many people migrate here.

The president says the outbreak of violence in Pretoria is not xenophobic but is really aimed at crime.

He urged political leaders visiting the affected areas not to say the wrong things.

“Let us help to cool down the situation; make people understand, talk to the police and talk to the foreigners. That is what they should do rather than making statements that actually exacerbate the feelings of the people,” Zuma said.

Zuma says whether South Africans are xenophobic or not is up for debate but that he doubts South Africans are xenophobic.

“I think we love using phrases in South Africa that at the time cause unnecessary perceptions about us. I think we are not (xenophobic). It’s not the first time we’re with the foreigners here.”

He says government does know many foreign nationals who come here aren’t refugees but are looking for jobs and to make a better living.

At least twice during the day police used stun grenades, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse citizens and non-nationals.

Read more at Eyewitness News.