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Acts of xenophobia embarrass us – Mayor

 

Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau has once again condemned the xenophobic violence that engulfed the country in the past few weeks and called on communities to unite against attacks on foreigners.

Seven people – including Mozambican migrant Emmanuel Sithole – were killed during the recent wave of xenophobic violence that also led to the displacement of thousands of others after they were hounded from their homes by marauding mobs. Sithole, an informal trader, was stabbed to death in broad daylight in Alexandra by thugs who had earlier taken goods from his stall without paying.

Speaking at the City of Johannesburg’s Integrated Development Plan’s (IDP) Stakeholder Summit at Wembley Stadium in Turffontein on Saturday, Mayor Tau said no amount of anger or frustration justified killing a fellow human being.

“South Africa recognises everyone’s right to life. It is important that we co-exist. We condemn bigotry and any form of discrimination. During the past week, I have felt extremely embarrassed [by the actions of a few] but in the past few days I have been encouraged by the groundswell of condemnation of xenophobia. We have had interactions with communities and we have noted South Africans’ genuine concerns. But this does not justify taking a life.”

The mayor said a programme to reintegrate the affected foreigners into Johannesburg communities had already been drawn up and agreed on by the City, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and migrant communities.

He said the business community had also been engaged in discussions to minimise tensions over jobs.

Mayor Tau also extended his condolences to the families of three people – two Metrobus drivers and a passenger – who died when two buses collided in Saxonwold on Friday morning. He also paid tribute to former Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs’ midfielder, John “Shoes” Moshoeu, who recently succumbed to cancer at the age of 49. On the sidelines of the IDP Stakeholder Summit, City of Johannesburg healthcare workers tested residents for high blood pressure, sugar diabetes and other lifestyle illnesses the City seeks to eradicate.

Under the Go Jozi Healthy Lifestyle Programme, residents are encouraged to eat healthy and exercise regularly to keep these diseases at bay. CeciliaRadebe, whose blood pressure was too high, at 162/107, was referred to the Joubert Park Clinic for further checks. Moshibudi Mawasha, a nurse at the clinic, also told Radebe to start taking her medicine again.

“Her BP is too high. This seems to be the pattern among many people. They are putting their lives in danger by stopping their medication. Sugar levels of most of the 500 people we have seen here today are normal,” said Mawasha, who was working with three volunteers and a health promoter from Region F.

Miriam Moyo, another resident with an even higher reading at 202/110, was also given a referral note.

“My BP was normal, so I stopped taking the medication. But I will go to the clinic on Tuesday,” said Moyo.