‘KZN at­tacks crim­i­nal, not xeno­pho­bic’

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - Matthew Sa­vides

The eThek­wini mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the Malawi High Com­mis­sion have jointly de­nied that the re­cent vi­o­lence aimed at for­eign na­tion­als in Dur­ban was xeno­pho­bic – stat­ing‚ in­stead‚ that it was crim­i­nally mo­ti­vated.

This week‚ for­eign na­tion­als were tar­geted in spo­radic out­breaks of vi­o­lence in the Sy­den­ham and Over­port ar­eas of the city. In at least two cases‚ they were forced to seek refuge at po­lice sta­tions.

But on Fri­day‚ the eThek­wini coun­cil and the Malawi High Com­mis­sion de­nied the vi­o­lence was xeno­pho­bic.

“The in­ci­dents that led to Malaw­ian na­tion­als be­ing chased out of their homes are not xeno­pho­bia but were crim­i­nally mo­ti­vated as their be­long­ings were stolen by the an­gry mob‚” the mu­nic­i­pal­ity said.

It said the coun­cil and the com­mis­sion were work­ing tire­lessly to in­te­grate the for­eign na­tion­als – who were pre­dom­i­nantly of Malaw­ian de­scent – back to their com­mu­ni­ties.

eThek­wini mayor Zandile Gumede is­sued a stern warn­ing to lead­ers of all po­lit­i­cal par­ties to de­sist from mak­ing pop­ulist state­ments that in­flamed xeno­pho­bia or any other form of dis­crim­i­na­tion.

“No African is a for­eigner in Africa,” she said.

“As the mu­nic­i­pal­ity‚ we are com­mit­ted to work­ing to­gether with or­gan­i­sa­tions rep­re­sent­ing im­mi­grants and civil so­ci­ety for­ma­tions to deal with is­sues that cause ten­sion be­tween and among all our peo­ple.”–

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