Xenophobia barbaric – MMC Molwele
Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Councillor Nonceba Molwele added her voice to the mounting condemnation of xenophobic attacks that engulfed KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg a few weeks ago, describing them as an “ugly face of criminality”.
Speaking at the City’s April council meeting, MMC Molwele said under no circumstances should wanton assault and murder of foreigners be justified. She said it was true that poverty had the tendency to dehumanise those affected by it and that the high rate of unemployment invariably led to the rise in criminality. The MMC said criminal elements systematically identified their targets for looting and zoomed in on them.
“We should unreservedly condemn in the strongest possible terms this barbaric opportunism by criminals. It is, however, encouraging to note that a lot of these zealots have been apprehended and will answer for their dastardly acts."
“It is important that I share with the council the interventions that we have effected to arrest the situation. Our approach was to immediately stamp out the attacks and map out a plan to proactively prevent future attacks. The executive, led by the Executive Mayor, [Councillor Parks Tau], addressed crowds of people at affected hostels. We furthermore had meetings with indunas at the affected hostels. Faith-based organisations played an important role in rendering prayer services for peace. They, most importantly, actively joined our delegation as government whenever we visited affected areas to endeavour to calm these distressed communities."
"They, together with relevant departments in the City, visited affected communities to, among other things, offer counselling and discourage this wayward behaviour."
The MMC said the City, represented by the Executive Mayor, took part in a march organised jointly with the Office of Gauteng Premier David Makhura in protest against the xenophobic attacks. She said the City also joined hands with the South African Police Service and the national government to coordinate rapid responses in identified hot spots.
MMC Molwele said the City, in partnership with the South African Council of Churches and other stakeholders, ensured that Mozambican immigrant Emmanuel Sithole, who was stabbed to death in Alexandra, was given a decent send-off to his home country.
“We participated in his memorial service and arranged counsellors for those who needed such services during the memorial service. We are pleased to indicate that our people have committed themselves to isolating criminal elements that systematically spread the attacks on foreigners. Let us, too, as council make sure that in our constituencies we spread the gospel of tolerance and allow the relevant government agencies to intervene in cases of illegal activities, [irrespective of whether they are] carried out by locals or foreigners."
“Let us unite against this scourge ... The African countries’ role in our struggle for freedom cannot be overemphasised. Let us not allow the unity envisaged by Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandela to be in vain,” she said.