Xenophobic violence an affront to SA values, says Ramaphosa
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.
“We have a responsibility as leaders to understand the reality of international migration and put in place fair, sustainable and rights-based policies to manage it.”
On the economic front, Ramaphosa said the government and the people of South Africa look forward to deepening economic partnership, political dialogue and cooperation on matters of mutual interest with the now Pretoria-accredited diplomats.
“You are arriving in our country at a time when we are seized with efforts to revive our economy, create jobs, alleviate poverty and significantly reduce inequality.
To this effect, we will be hosting the second South Africa Investment Conference next month, from the 5th to the 7th of November,” said Ramaphosa.
He said at that high-level conference, “business leaders and investors from all around the world and our own country will be able to explore the abundant investment opportunities in our country” across a broad range of dynamic sectors that make up the diverse South African economy.
The president said Pretoria has prioritised efforts to reduce the cost and improve the ease of doing business in South Africa.
“Working with our partners in business, labour and communities, we are removing regulatory and other obstacles to greater investment. We are making it easier and less costly for tourists and business people to visit our shores, and we are making it easier to attract really valuable skills from abroad,” he said.
“We welcome investors from your respective countries to attend this Investment Conference and to see for themselves the potential for opportunities that exist in South Africa. We have placed the imperative of greater and more inclusive growth at the top of our national agenda because we seek to create a better life for all the people of South Africa.”
Ramaphosa on Tuesday received credentials from India, Australia, Morocco, Zambia, France, Lesotho, Switzerland, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Guatemala, Niger, Ireland, the European Union, Cyprus, Rwanda and Malta.
African News Agency (ANA)