South Africa condemn fake content around xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals

PRETORIA, South Africa, 5 April 2019/ – The South African government has strongly condemned the recent spate of attacks on foreign nationals including the circulation of fake content on social media.

According to a communique from Deputy Director; International Media Engagement Government Communication and Information System in Pretoria, Mmemme Mogotsi, “The recent tensions that flared up in one of the Provinces in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal that resulted in the temporary displacement of some foreign nationals is regrettable.  In today’s hyper connected world, news of any unpleasant incident quickly travels to all corners of the world, in the process fake images get used to fuel the tensions within our communities, Sadly some people chose to further inflame an already tense situation by posting misleading and disturbing content on social media. Such actions only serve to further fuel tensions, and have the potential to cause further disruption or violence.”

Mogotsi said the South African government has therefore moved quickly to restore normality to the affected areas, and as such they have also called on everyone to take responsibility for what they post and re-post on social media.

Attacks on foreigners sparked by desperation: Mayor. www.vocfm.co.za

“It is all too easy to simply share something without first ascertaining its authenticity. It is important that people are mindful about what they post and share on social media. Following the unfortunate incident in KwaZulu-Natal our government convened an urgent meeting with African Ambassadors to discuss the recent violence against foreign nationals in South Africa. The meeting was attended by the South African Ministers for International Relations and Police.  The Minister of International Relations, Lindiwe Sisulu, emphasised that the attacks on foreign nationals were an act of pure criminality which is strongly condemned. The Minister also said the interaction with ambassadors was fruitful and that they would continue working to ensure that everyone remained safe in South Africa.”

According to the media statement, the government remains steadfast in the belief that South Africa belongs to all who live in it as espoused in the Constitution which provides protection to all within our borders, and South Africa is a multicultural society that promotes interaction among people of different backgrounds.

“Therefore, the team of Ministers from our security cluster remain seized with this matter to ensure the safety of all South Africans including foreign national that live in the country. Since 1994 all visitors to our shores have been welcomed with open arms, and as an integral part of the African continent, we continue to advocate for a peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa. As Africans we all have a shared commitment to foster peace and greater continental unity. Our motto has always been that we can build a better South Africa and Africa by working together.”

Hundreds of people march in protest against the recent xenophobia incidents in South Africa, in Maputo, Mozambique, 25 April 2015. EPA/AN/Daily Maverick

Mogotsi added, “We are also ever mindful of the role fellow African nations played in ensuring our liberation and freedom. During apartheid African nations welcomed our people with open arms and provided support and refuge to our freedom fighters.  The history of the economy of our country was anchored by the discovery of gold in the mines which were toiled by both South Africans and   migrant workers from the neighboring countries in particular the SADC region.”

“We have steadfastly built on these relations since 1994, and most recently South Africa assisted our neighbors in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe following the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai. It is also a well-known fact that the region’s economies are interlinked and we will continue to work together for increased trade and investment that benefits everyone.

Recently President Cyril Ramaphosa said that: “African development depends on the increased movement of people, goods and services between different countries for all of us to benefit.”

These sentiments have driven our interactions with fellow African nations since the dawn of democracy, and we will continue to work towards a better and more prosperous continent.

Therefore the South African government will not allow a few criminal elements to undo our work in building a cohesive nation and a peaceful continent. We will continue to work with communities, business, labour, faith-based and civil society organisations to ensure that all who live in our country are safe.  We also caution against people consuming fake images that are purporting to be coming from South Africa.  Some of these images were not even taken in South Africa.

“We are also not blind to the many contrasting opinions and sentiments around migration, and will continue to work with all stakeholders in addressing their concerns and continuing to build peaceful coexistence with our brothers and sisters from the continent. Our government will also continue to work on nation building and social cohesion so that our melting pot of human potential and talent can work to the benefit of everyone within South Africa’s borders and on the continent.”

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