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NEPAD calls on South Africans to reflect on xenophobia

TEDDY KUYELA & STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
THE NEPAD Business Foundation, an organisation which was founded to accelerate continental development and the African Union (AU), has condemned the aggressive violence and looting that is being perpetrated by South Africans against foreign nationals.
And Zambians living in Durban, South Africa, have praised Government for showing concern for its citizens in the wake of the violence against foreign nationals that has rocked some parts of the city.
Chief executive officer Lynette Chen said the xenophobic attacks are threatening to undo the repair done after similar attacks in 2008 and have the potential of further lowering foreign investor confidence not only in relation to South Africa but the continent as a whole.
Ms Chen said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that it is sad that South Africans are welcomed in other African countries yet the same courtesy is not being accorded to foreign nationals in their country.
“Neighbouring nations, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Tanzania and Namibia supported South Africa’s liberation movements as they hosted South African exiles and the country owes much of its freedom to the support provided by other African nations during this period.
“These African countries are repatriating their citizens and are planning on boycotting South African businesses and retailers that have set up operations in their countries. The whole world is watching in horror as a people that were once segregated and victimised for being different, are now the perpetrators of violence against migrants in South Africa,” she said.
Ms Chen said the xenophobic attacks not only have an immense negative effect on South Africa’s economy but it will also stifle the growth of local companies in their efforts to expand into other African countries.
She said South Africans must know that African countries united to fight against the apartheid regime and that it was through their support that South Africa attained its liberation in 1994.
Ms Chen said if not resolved quickly, the disruptions caused by the xenophobic attacks to normal business operations and the threat of more widespread attacks across the country will exacerbate the financial position of the South African economy and may add to the factors that will result in further downgrades.
And it has been established that no Zambian has been a victim of the xenophobic attacks that have attracted criticism and anger.
This is according to a statement released yesterday by press secretary at the Zambian mission in Pretoria Nicky Shabolyo.
Mr Shabolyo said the Zambians resident in Durban thanked Government during a meeting with mission officials.
An organisation of Zambians living in Durban, Tiyende Pamodzi Zambia Association vice-president Mulenga Chilufya, said the members are impressed with Government’s timely intervention to send its officials to Durban to assess the situation.
“It is indeed gratifying that officials from the High Commission have been brave enough to come to Durban to check on us even with these reports of violence. We are indeed grateful to our government,” Mr Chilufya said.
Mr Shabolyo said the visit also established that no Zambian is in a situation that would warrant evacuation by the Government following the attacks on foreign nationals.
No Zambian was found at a temporary camp where about 1,500 foreigners comprising Zimbabweans, Malawians and Mozambicans, who fled the violence, are being kept by South African authorities.
Deputy High Commissioner Joe Kaunda told the Zambians on Saturday that President Lungu has taken personal interest in the matter and has constantly been in touch with Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Muyeba Chikonde.



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