President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned against groups mushrooming across the country targeting foreign nationals.
Addressing the National Human Rights Day commemoration in Koster in the North West on Monday, Ramaphosa also warned employers to stop hiring undocumented foreign nationals.
”We say to employers: do not employ undocumented workers because when you do you are just going to create tension among the people,” he said.
Ramaphosa said those who set up organisation such as Operation Dudula were breaking the law.
Operation Dudula has been targeting foreign nationals operating small businesses, demanding that they leave the country.
”We can’t allow people to use vigilantism to deal with issues,” he said, adding that this was a highly sensitive matter that could turn into deadly xenophobic violence.
According to Ramaphosa, employers who knowingly hired undocumented foreign nationals were breaking the law and contributing to social tensions between South African citizens and foreign nationals.
”We should not allow ourselves to be at war with those from other countries.
“Unemployment should not make us go to war against people from other countries,” he said.
Ramaphosa called on employers to hire properly documented people.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said attacks on black Africans and sometimes Asians showed that South Africans’ humanity was at an all-time low.
In his address, Ramaphosa also spoke about the effects of the war in Ukraine.
”We see a number of gains being reversed; it looks like we are going back. The gains that we see are going to be reversed by that war that is taking place there,” he said.
Ramaphosa said food and fuel prices were going up while Covid-19 had also taken the country back, with two million people losing their jobs.
”Instead of moving forward, we are now finding that we are getting into another trap,” he said.
Ramaphosa said the social grant system now covered 46% of the population, demonstrating that his government is compassionate.