CHIMWEMWE MWALE, Lusaka
ZAMBIAâ€™S High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba has cautioned Zambians living in that country to avoid the Pretoria central business district and the cityâ€™s hotspots.
Mr Mwamba said the caution comes in the wake of South African Police Service (SAPS) granting permission to a group called â€œMamelodi Concerned Citizensâ€ to conduct a protest march against illegal foreign nationals or illegal immigrants.
He said the protest march was expected to start from Mamelodi township to the Department of Home Affairs and Department of Labour.
Mr Mwamba said in an urgent notice to Zambians resident in South Africa yesterday that there was a reported development and serious incidence in Atteridgeville in Pretoria West by press time.
â€œSome roads in the area are blocked and protesters have barricaded the area with tyres, trees, and stones and are preventing people from leaving the area. If anyone in this area is affected or anywhere else in Pretoria or Johannesburg, kindly call us,â€ he said.
And Mr Mwamba said African diplomats yesterday had a fruitful and confidence-building meeting with Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba.
Mr Mwamba said the minister assured all foreign nationals in South Africa that Government would protect all people resident in that country regardless of their immigration status.
â€œThe minister has also assured that Government will not allow recent violent attacks to degenerate to any worrying level or xenophobic violence,â€ he said.
He said Government would fight crime irrespective of who commits it and stated that there was no evidence to show that crimes were exclusively being committed by foreigners or illegal immigrants.
Mr Gigaba said there was no research or statics to support such assertions and encouraged foreign nationals living in South Africa to respect the law.
He said Government is happy that communities in affected areas refused to join in solidarity against such protests saying the majority of South Africans are not xenophobes.
The minister advised that people on social media must not share graphic images, videos or voice notes from previous xenophobic violence of 2008 and 2015 and purport to show that it is recent.
He noted that these activities alarm, incite, cause hysteria and urged everyone to be part of the process to help end the current violence.
CHIMWEMWE MWALE, Lusaka