Shops closed down in Durban CBD on the 04 September 2019 amid reports of xenophobic attacks escalating to the City. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/ African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - The Inkatha Freedom Party wants parliament to urgently debate the violent xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals, with the party’s Chief Whip Narend Singh saying that holding the debate was a matter of national importance.

The party wrote to Speaker Thandi Modise on Wednesday requesting the debate as violent attacks and looting of businesses owned by foreign nationals continue in areas such as Pretoria, Johannesburg and other parts of Gauteng.

Singh said that foreign nationals operating legal and licenced businesses in South Africa deserved full protection of the country’s laws. Singh said that the urgent spike, multiplicity and severity of the attacks against foreign nationals warranted urgent government attention.

“The attacks on foreign nationals operating legal businesses is unfounded and is conflated with the deep rooted anger of South Africans who face severe poverty, inequality, joblessness and are desperate,” Singh said in a statement.

He added that it was in the national interest that the matter was debated urgently to ensure that there is better cooperation between government in Africa to prevent adverse effects on the African Free Trade Agreement that was recently signed by African Union Member States. 

“It is unfortunate that lawlessness has prevailed and that lives have been lost in vain. We cannot support violence and we cannot support South Africans taking the law into their own hands. 

“Lawmakers can offer solutions in this debate of urgent national importance and may unite behind the ideals of the IFP’s founding principles of Ubuntu/Botho. Xenophobia and Afrophobia has no place in our democratic dispensation, we must act now in order to avoid any further diplomatic and economic ramifications due to inaction of our government,” Singh said. 

Political Bureau