ED to engage Ramaphosa in talks to stop xenophobic attacks

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CHENGETAI ZVAUYA

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, now in Cape Town for the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF), will meet his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss security concerns in the region following a new wave of xenophobic attacks in that country targeting African nationals and African-owned businesses.

Though other African nations such as Nigeria, Rwanda and DRCongo, have boycotted the WEF because of the xenophobic attacks, Mnangagwa is attending the event where over 1,000 regional and global leaders drawn from politics, business and civil society are meeting to discuss economic and financial matters.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, told Business Times that Mnangagwa would meet SADC leaders, including South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, to discuss the xenophobic attacks on SADC and other African nationals who live in South Africa.

“President Mnangagwa is the current chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, and he is seized with what is currently happening in South Africa, Ziyambi said. “This has become  a serious security issue in the region and I understand the President will discuss the matter with  President Ramaphosa  and other SADC leaders to have stability in the region.

 “This is also going to be one of the major talking points at the WEF. The violence has also prompted President Mnangagwa to attend the WEF and find ways to end the xenophobic attacks.  Other SADC leaders face the same problem.

Ziyambi continued: “We  are worried with  what is happening  in South  Africa  and  I am glad that   President  Mnangagwa will  raise the matter with  President  Ramaphosa in a bid to end the attacks.” 

Over two million Zimbabweans are believed to have emigrated to South Africa after the domestic economy collapsed in 2008.

South Africa is  a major  destination for  economic  migrants from other  parts of Africa, including Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique,  Zambia, and Malawi.

Nigerians, Somalians and Ethiopians are also being targeted in the xenophobic attacks.

On Tuesday, the MDC leader Nelson Chamisa also appealed to President Ramaphosa to help curb the xenophobia attacks.

“We acknowledge that South Africa, like many other African countries, has problems of inequality, joblessness, social service delivery, poverty and illegal immigration. [But] violence and impunity are not the answer to these problems,” Chamisa said.

“If we allow violence and brutality in society to be used as an instrument to resolve challenges, it inevitably spreads to all facets of life including affecting women and children. Violence in all its ugly forms and manifestations, be it towards women and children, citizens, illegal immigrants or any other human being for that matter, is simply unacceptable. And we appeal to President Cyril Ramaphosa to help and end the xenophobic attacks.”