South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma on Monday, April 27, spoke to his countrymen as they celebrated Freedom Day, a day that marks the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. He touched on a lot of issues including the recent xenophobic attacks which claimed seven lives and displaced thousands of foreigners.
Zuma said that the immigrants in someway, contributed to the crisis.
Below are excerpts from the speech:
Fellow South Africans and friends,As we mark Freedom Day, we do so against the background of a difficult period for our country.Seven people were killed during horrific attacks that were directed at foreign nationals in Durban and Johannesburg. The figure includes three South Africans.The South Africans who died in the conflict in Durban are:1. Ayanda Dlamini, 22 years old.2. Thabo Mzobe, 14 years old and3. Msawenkosi Dlamini, 29 years old.Among the foreign nationals who died during the same week is the Mozambican citizen Manuel Jossias, who was identified by the media as Emmanuel Sithole. He was killed during a callous robbery in Alexandra township.Reports indicate that he used a false name to avoid detection by authorities as he was an illegal immigrant.The authorities are working hard with affected embassies to ensure that all the foreign-born victims of the violence are positively identified. We extend our deepest condolences to all the families and compatriots of the deceased.The police have been instructed to work tirelessly to bring the killers of all to book.We strongly condemn these attacks. They have no place in a democracy where people are free to express their unhappiness about any issue. We also urge our communities to isolate criminal elements who perpetuate such horrendous crimes against fellow human beings. They should be reported to the police.We thank members of the public who have already provided information to the police about some of the incidents.We applaud South Africans for coming out in their thousands in the past week to register their condemnation of the violence directed at foreign nationals.The marches have demonstrated that we are peace loving people who believe in human dignity, human rights and Ubuntu, and that South Africans are opposed to xenophobia, racism and all related intolerances.Abantu baseNingizimu Afrika baphume ngobuningi babo kulelisonto eledlule, bezwakalisa ukungahambisani kwabo nodlame obelubhekiswe ebantwini bokufika kuleli.Loku kukhombise umhlaba wonke ukuthi akulona iqiniso ukuthi thina bantu baseNingizimu Afrika, siyabazonda abantu bokufika.We thank the United Nations, the African Union and all sister nations in the continent who have expressed their support and encouragement during this challenging period.The latest outbreak of violence necessitates more comprehensive action from all of us to ensure that there is no recurrence.We have to address the underlying causes of the violence and tensions, which is the legacy of poverty, unemployment and inequality in our country and our continent and the competition for limited resources.The Freedom Charter says there should be peace and friendship in our relations with other countries in the continent and beyond and especially with our brothers and sisters in the continent.We are therefore called upon to find a constructive solution to the challenge of migration, working with representatives of the foreign nationals and governments of the countries from which they come and our communities.I have established a committee of 14 Ministers to find solutions and to help us deal with the underlying causes.We have spent the past week consulting stakeholders from various sectors. I also met with leaders of organisations representing foreign nationals. It was a very informative and constructive meeting.Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Premiers have also been holding izimbizo with communities nationwide to hear their concerns and views.Government will take into account the issues raised in the izimbizo and the stakeholder consultations as we work to find lasting solutions to this challenge.We also applaud Parliament for going into recess this coming week to enable Members to attend to this critical issue that is affecting our communities and foreign nationals.Let me emphasise that we have noted the complaints raised by South Africans and these will be attended to.These include that the number of illegal and undocumented migrants is increasing, that they take their jobs as some employers prefer workers who are prepared to accept lower wages.There are also complaints that foreign nationals benefit from free government services, and that they run businesses illegally.There is also an accusation that undocumented foreign nationals commit crimes in the country.We reiterate that none of these complaints can justify attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops.We condemn the violence strongly. It is also important to emphasise that not all foreign nationals are in the country illegally. Many live here legally and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. It is also not true that all foreign nationals are involved in criminal activities.The Inter-Ministerial Committee has been directed to deal with all issues, including ensuring the respect for the laws of the land by all and ensuring that no persons live in the country illegally or run businesses illegally.Government will also work with stakeholders such as business so that they can support the process and adhere to the laws that prohibit the employment of illegal immigrants. This will also protect foreign nationals from exploitation.Government will also work with communities to ensure that support is provided to refugees and asylum seekers residing in our country, in accordance with international law and Ubuntu.Government has already announced measures to improve security at the border posts including deploying the army in seven provinces recently to patrol border posts.Members of the SANDF will also be deployed as immigration officers to improve the capacity of the Department of Home Affairs at the border posts.In the long-term, the Department of Home Affairs is developing a new International Migration Green Paper, to be released for public comment in early 2016. The new policy will take into account the recent experiences.It is our firm belief that the efforts of the African Union to promote peace, stability and democracy in every corner of the continent will in the long run reduce the need for people to migrate towards the South.The promotion of intra-Africa trade, regional integration, infrastructure and other economic interventions is also designed to improve the economic situation in sister countries.The end result will be that brothers and sisters will eventually no longer need to leave their countries in search of a better life.We are preparing a formal report for SADC, African Union and the United Nations on the matter.