Harare, (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwean government on Wednesday condemned xenophobic violence in South Africa targeting African immigrants, including Zimbabweans.
Over five people are said to have been killed so far, in yet another outbreak of black-on-black violence in Johannesburg, attracting criticism from across Africa.
This is taking place against the background of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Cape Town being attended by 28 countries, mainly from Africa.
The Nigerian government, whose citizens have been caught up in the attacks, has been one of the biggest critics of the violence and has said it was contemplating demanding compensation for the loss of lives.
The spate of violence that broke out in suburbs south of Johannesburg’s city centre on Sunday and spread to the central business district on Monday saw the destruction of mainly foreign-owned shops and business premises, cars and properties.
Those unfortunate to be caught up were thoroughly beaten up, and some burnt, resulting in deaths.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also attending the WEF and is the chairperson of SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, has also condemned the violence.
Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa described the violence as “senseless,” adding the killings “clearly offend the spirit of African unity and solidarity espoused by the African Union founding fathers in Addis Ababa in 1963.”
“The despicable acts come at an inopportune time when African leaders have just launched the Continental Free Trade Area, which has opened exciting economic opportunities that facilitate free movement of capital, labour, goods and services,” she said.
Mutsvangwa warned all Zimbabweans living and travelling to the neighbouring country to “take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety.”
Rough estimates put Zimbabwe’s population living in South Africa at over three million.
“We applaud the South African government for their swift intervention to end the violence and bring the perpetrators to book,” she said.
Over 70 people are reported to have so far been arrested in connection with the violence.