JACO STROEBEL

After the recent outbreaks of xenophobic violence in Durban and later Johannesburg, the Centre for Human Rights released a statement reiterating the importance of an official rebuke of these actions. Futhermore, they ask that the country’s leadership officially distance themselves from the ideology that foments this movement. In a press release from the Centre, they said, “It seems important to us that President Zuma, government minsters and the ANC leadership unequivocally distance themselves from all statements that [incite] xenophobic violence.”

“We need to hear language that makes a difference, words that loudly and clearly counter the toxic discourse that has been allowed to take us down a spiral of violence,” said Prof. Frans Viljoen, director of the Centre.The Centre concedes that simply talking about the problem will not solve it, but will be a step in the right direction, saying, “A clear, unambiguous acknowledgement by the government and the ANC that xenophobia exists, that it is wrong, and that it needs to end is a good starting point.” Such a statement will mean nothing without the action to substantiate it, as “in the short term, judicial processes of those responsible for violent crimes should be ensured. In the longer term, continuous sensitisation, education, and public dialogue, also involving non-South Africans, should be embarked upon,” the Centre says.

The Centre says that silence on this matter will “contribute to further blinding us to the disastrous effects of xenophobia and xenophobic violence in South Africa.”

The full statement from the Centre can be found on the UP website.

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