Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told the WEF on Africa that the majority of South Africans were against xenophobia. Picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Thursday told the World Economic Forum on Africa that the majority of South Africans were against xenophobia, calling for a political solution to attacks on foreign nationals.

Mboweni, who was standing in for President Cyril Ramaphosa who had been called to Parliament to address angry citizens protesting the prevalence of gender-based violence in the country, told a plenary session attended by WEF delegates, which included African leaders, that African solidarity was sorely needed now more than ever.

"Here in SA, we are going through a very difficult time of these animosities that have been generated and the violence, but there are responsible authorities dealing with that. But central to solving the issue is not just an issue of the police or whatever, it's a political question," said Mboweni.

"We have to go to our people and discuss politically that what some of them are doing is wrong. The majority of South Africans are against what's happening. The majority of South Africans are appalled..the majority of us don't want this thing but we shall overcome."

Mboweni said the free movement of goods on the continent to improve intra-African trade was dependent on the free movement of people.

"These artificial barriers that were created and this hatred among ourselves must really be a thing of the past."

The attacks on foreign nationals have been roundly condemned by African leaders, with both the African Union and the Nigerian government calling for immediate action to stop the violence and to bring the perpetrators to book.

African News Agency (ANA)