Pretoria - A crowd of #NotInMyName activists braved the rainy weather in Pretoria on Friday, protesting at the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) and condemning the recent wave of violence targeting foreign nationals in South Africa.
"To say a fellow African is a foreigner in South Africa is absolute nonsense. That is un-African and we must condemn that. It is also unconstitutional because the Constitution of South Africa states that this country belongs to all who live in it," #NotInMyName president, Siyabulela Jentile, said to journalists.
"Where there are issues of jobs, truck companies hiring people who are not properly documented - we must deal with those issues with the department of home affairs, without hurting anyone. Xenophobia is wrong. We are aware that even the President [Cyril Ramaphosa] is trying to sugarcoat these attacks by saying they are only criminal acts. Let us call xenophobia for what it is."
Jentile said it was "deeply concerning" that the victims of the anti-immigrant attacks were only black Africans.
"We have immigrants from countries like China who are working and some of them are not properly documented. We have people from India, Bangladesh and many other countries in this country. They are not being assaulted and victimised. Why do we only hurt those who look like us? That is wrong," said Jentile.
"There are many white foreigners in this country who are from Europe. Nobody says anything about them. We have been taught to hate ourselves and those who look like us, now we say the fellow Africans are taking our jobs. Criminal acts should be dealt with through the justice system."
#NotInMyName secretary-general Themba Masango led the crowd of activists picketing along Soutpansberg Road.
The #NotInMyName picket at Dirco on Friday coincided with the South African government's follow-up meeting with ambassadors and high commissioners of mainly African countries, as the Pretoria authorities seek ways to combat the criminal attacks targeting foreign nationals.
The Dirco meeting was led by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Police Minister Bheki Cele, and Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele.
African News Agency (ANA)
- African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Devereaux Morkel