SA government must do more to stop xenophobic violence before it flares up: Catholic Church
TMG Digital | 2017-02-21 12:52:45.0
Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Image by: Facebook/Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) Justice and Peace Commission has called for calm and restraint amid fears that the planned march against foreign presence in Pretoria on Friday could spark xenophobic attacks.
Bishop Abel Gabuza‚ chairperson‚ said: “The planned march against the foreigners in Pretoria is cause for serious concern. We call for calm and restraint.”
Bishop Gabuza has also condemned the recent violence and destruction of property of foreigners in Pretoria West and in Rosettenville.
He said communities should explore avenues to raise their concerns against foreign nationals instead of resorting to violence: “We cannot stress it enough that‚ even in cases of extreme dissatisfaction with law enforcement and alleged criminal activities perpetrated by some foreign nationals‚ community members should not take the law into their own hands. No grievance justifies violence against foreign nationals.”
Bishop Gabuza has at the same time urged the African Diaspora Forum to work actively and closely with the South African Police to root out criminal elements among foreign nationals‚ especially those involved in drugs and prostitution.
“We reiterate our call to the Government to strengthen border controls. We also call on the intelligence community to devise more effective ways to detect and counter xenophobic violence before it flares up. Detection mechanisms must be strengthened with respect to xenophobic attacks.”
According to Bishop Gabuza‚ in the context of slow economic growth and increased economic inequalities in South Africa‚ there is also a need to address the fierce competition for limited resources‚ public services and economic opportunities between foreigners and the unemployed poor in South Africa.
“If this is not comprehensively addressed‚ especially in townships and informal settlements‚ it will generate an environment that increases the risk of xenophobic attacks.”
Mamelodi Concerned Residents spokesperson Makgoka Lekganyane said they organised the march because they were tired of being “slaves” in their own country.