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South Africa govt condemns attacks against immigrants



The South African government has condemned attacks against immigrants after a spate of assaults this week that raised fears of a resurgence of deadly xenophobic attacks .

“ Government is concerned about the reported attacks on foreign nationals in KwaZulu- Natal and Limpopo , ” the state communications department said in a statement issued Thursday night.
“ We urge law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators of these violent acts are brought to book ” .

It called on community leaders to stop and discourage attacks on migrants reported in Limpopo and KwaZulu- Natal provinces .

Police in the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal confirmed incidents of attacks by dozens of people which started on Sunday night targeting foreign – owned shops .

Attacks were also reported over the next two days and by Tuesday , police spokesman Thulani Zwane said , a group of protesters “ were forcing the foreign nationals out of their homes . No one was injured or assaulted ” .

He told AFP that police intervened , but “ no serious incidents were reported ” .
By Wednesday around 300 foreign nationals had sought refuge at a mosque in Durban , according to an AFP photographer .
Attacks against foreigners and foreign – run businesses have erupted regularly in recent years in South Africa – the most developed sub- Saharan economy .

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Immigrants are often the focus for anger among South Africans hit by a chronic job shortage and the limited progress made by many poor blacks since white – minority rule ended in 1994 .

South Africa is host to millions of foreign nationals – many of the economic and political refugees from across Africa including Mozambique , Zimbabwe , Somalia , Ethiopia and Malawi .
An unknown number of the migrants are undocumented.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance is campaigning for the May 8 election on an illegal migration card , accusing the ruling ANC party of failing to protect the country’ s borders.

The leader of the non – profit African Diaspora Union ( AfriDu ) , Chidiebere Ogbu , cast the blame for the latest eruption of violence on President Cyril Ramaphosa ’ s remarks at the ANC manifesto launch in January .

“ His foot soldiers misunderstood him and started harassing innocent traders , ” said Ogbu .

In the speech , Ramaphosa had vowed to crack down on businesses operating illegally in townships and rural areas .
“ We are going to bring this to an end and those who are operating illegally, wherever they come from must now know , ” Ramaphosa said told supporters .
( AFP )

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