From The Irish Times
The wave of xenophobic violence that has blighted South Africa this week threatened to take hold in neighbouring countries yesterday, where locals were urged to retaliate against South African-owned businesses.
The spread of antiforeigner sentiment came as South Africa’s international relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane met senior diplomats from other African countries to outline how the government intended bringing the violence under control.
At least five people, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed during violent confrontations in KwaZulu-Natal since last Friday, and thousands more are taking shelter in temporary refugee camps established across the country.
“We took the African diplomatic corps into confidence on the practical measures that are being taken by the security agencies to bring to justice those who are responsible for the violence and related criminal acts,” she said after meeting in Pretoria yesterday afternoon.
Ms Nkoana-Mashabane said South African president Jacob Zuma had announced a series of measures aimed at bringing the violence, looting and displacement of individuals and families to an end.
“We believe we can defeat this demon, and the resolve of the South African government and the support that has been pledged by our sister countries is all that we need to nip this in the bud,” she said.
However, it emerged yesterday that rather than being contained, the xenophobia was spreading to other countries. President of Zimbabwe’s national students’ union Gilbert Mutubuki yesterday called on Zimbabwean youths to retaliate against South Africans in their country. After an anti-xenophobia demonstration in Harare, Mr Mutubuki said it was time the country’s youths attacked South African businesses operating locally.
“Right now we have South African businesses such as Pick n Pay operating freely here, but our brothers are being butchered in South Africa . . . It’s high time we should do the same to all South African businesses here until they stop all this nonsense,” he reportedly said.
There were also reports yesterday of South African vehicles being attacked near the Ressano Garcia border post linking South Africa and Mozambique, which was subsequently closed.
Read more at The Irish Times