Pretoria - The recent spate of violence experienced in parts of South Africa, which claimed the lives of both citizens and foreign nationals, is an affront to the values which Pretoria holds dear, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday as he welcomed at least 16 new heads of diplomatic missions.
“It is important also that I reflect on an occasion such as this, on the recent public violence that was directed, at least in part, against foreign nationals living in our country. This violence – during which both South Africans and foreign nationals lost their lives and properties – is an affront to the values which we hold dear,” said Ramaphosa at the prestigious event hosted at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.
“We condemn such heinous acts of criminality, which should never again happen in our land. We are committed to respect the rights of all people within our borders, to strengthen the rule of law and to promote tolerance and understanding.”
Ramaphosa said his government is working to address the specific social and economic factors that gave rise to “frustration and anger among some of our people”. He, however, emphasised that South Africans are not generally xenophobic.
“For decades, South Africans have lived peacefully alongside people from other parts of the African continent and beyond – sharing resources, learning from one another and deepening our multiculturalism, including through marriage,” he said.