PROTESTS IN MZANSI :ZIMBOS SAFE | No Zimbabwean was killed or injured in xenophobic skirmishes that occurred in South Africa over the last fortnight, Harare’s chief diplomat in Pretoria, Ambassador Isaac Moyo, has said.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail yesterday, Ambassador Moyo said the South Africa Government had assured African diplomats that foreigners in that country will be protected.Violence broke out during Friday’s anti-immigrant march in Pretoria and parts of Johannesburg.
Police used stun grenades, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse the protestors going by the name “Mamelodi Concerned Residents” who accused immigrants of “taking our jobs, fuelling crime and prostitution”.
The South Africa Police Service later reported that 136 people had been arrested.South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma condemned the violence and encouraged peaceful co-existence on Friday.
Ambassador Moyo said, “We have not received any reports of any death or injury of a Zimbabwean as a result of the xenophobia-related incidents that occurred in Pretoria and before that, in the south of Johannesburg.
“However, we are advising Zimbabweans to be vigilant whilst maintaining calm. We are reassured by the authorities that they are doing everything needed to stabilise the situation and to deal with the legitimate grievances of the affected communities and that at all times, any xenophobic tendencies will be dealt with.”
On Friday, the “Mamelodi Concerned Residents” delivered a petition to the Home Affairs Ministry alleging that worshippers from Zimbabwe apostolic churches were “destroying our public parks”, and accused them of defecating, urinating and burning trees.
The petition also accused foreigners of being “arrogant and don’t know how to talk to people, especially Nigerians”. President Zuma, however, called for calm and understanding.
Said President Zuma: “I’ve been told people leading the march are saying it’s not an anti-foreigners march, it is anti-crime. Those involved in crime happen to be amongst them, those who come from other countries.
“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.
“I think we love using phrases in South Africa that, at the times, cause unnecessary perceptions about us. I think we are not (xenophobic), it’s not the first time we’re with the foreigners here.”