The recent tensions that resulted in the temporary displacement of some foreign nationals in one of the provinces in South Africa are regrettable. In today’s hyper-connected world, news of any unpleasant incident quickly travels to all corners of the world, fuelling the tensions within our communities.
Sadly, some people chose to further inflame the tense situation by posting misleading and disturbing content on social media. Such actions only serve to further fuel tensions, and have the potential to cause further disruption or violence.
The South African government has therefore moved quickly to restore normality to the affected areas.
We have also called on everyone to take responsibility for what they post and re-post on social media. It is all too easy to simply share something without
first ascertaining its authenticity. It is important that people are mindful about what they post and share on social media.
Following the unfortunate incident in KwaZulu-Natal, our government convened an urgent meeting with African Ambassadors to discuss the recent violence against foreign nationals in South Africa. The meeting was attended by the South African Ministers for International Relations and Police.
The Minister of International Relations, Lindiwe Sisulu, emphasised that the attacks on foreign nationals were an act of pure criminality which is strongly condemned. She also said the interaction with ambassadors was fruitful and that they would continue working to ensure that everyone remained safe in South Africa.
Our government remains steadfast in the belief that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.
Our Constitution provides protection to all within our borders, and South Africa is a multicultural society that promotes interaction among people of different backgrounds. The team of ministers from our security cluster remains seized with this matter to ensure the safety of all South Africans including foreign nationals that live in the country.
Since 1994, all visitors to our shores have been welcomed with open arms. As an integral part of the African continent, we continue to advocate for a peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa.
As Africans, we all have a shared commitment to foster peace and greater continental unity. Our motto has always been that we can build a better South Africa and Africa by working together.
We are also ever mindful of the role fellow African nations played in ensuring our liberation and freedom. During apartheid African nations welcomed our people with open arms and provided support and refuge to our freedom fighters.
The history of the economy of our country was anchored by the discovery of gold in the mines which were toiled by both South Africans and migrant workers from the neighbouring countries in particular the Sadc region.
We have steadfastly built on these relations since 1994. Most recently South Africa assisted our neighbours in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe following the devastation caused by cyclone Idai.
The region’s economies are interlinked and we will continue to work together for increased trade and investment that benefits everyone.
Recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “African development depends on the increased movement of people, goods and services between different countries for all of us to benefit.”
These sentiments have driven our interactions with fellow African nations since the dawn of democracy, and we will continue to work towards a better and more prosperous continent.
Therefore, the South African government will not allow a few criminal elements to undo our work in building a cohesive nation and a peaceful continent.
We will continue to work with communities, business, labour, faith-based and civil society organisations to ensure that all who live in our country are safe.
We also caution against people consuming fake images that are purporting to be coming from South Africa. Some of these images were not even taken in South Africa. n