Picture: Zintle Mahlati

Johannesburg - The government should do more to tackle xenophobic attacks in the country, say panelists discussing xenophobia at the Independent Media's dialogue discussion. 

Panelists said analysing the various xenophobic attacks that have taken place over the past couple of years, showed there hasn't been great accountability from the government and communities on the consequences of xenophobic attacks.

"We need accountability and a strong message from top leaders on what needs to be done about xenophobia," said Emeka Johnson, from the All Nigerian Nationals in the Diaspora. 

He was speaking at Independent Media's anti-xenophobia Dialogue on Thursday. The event was meant to come up to a solution for xenophobia. 

Johnson said the fact that crime was being attributed to foreign nationals, only helped fuel attacks against foreigners. 

Video: Zintle Mahlati

"Crime does not have a nationality, people must stop associating it with certain nationalities," said Johnson. 

Shukri Dies from the Somali Association of South Africa agreed with Johnson, and said for him xenophobic attacks were often sparked by leaders who spoke recklessly. 

"When leaders say one thing people usually listen to that. One moment the person who allowed me to work in the home, now suddenly becomes xenophobic and helps loot shops," said Dies. 

Richard Melville-Smith from the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, said during studies conducted in a communities where xenophobic incidents had taken place, some the incidents were deliberately sparked because of the tensions that already existed in the country. 

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