Cape Town — The police will fight Afrophobia with everything in their power, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko said on Tuesday.
The ANC was disturbed by Africans attacking fellow Africans, he said during a debate in the National Assembly, intended to promote harmonious existence and respect for all persons.
“We condemn such acts of barbarity with all the contempt they deserve. We regard them as one of the highest and appalling manifestations of mimicking the erstwhile master and doing his dirty ‘divide and rule’ job rooted as it is, in the African’s tragic self-hate syndrome.”
He condemned the hating of “fellow brothers and sisters” from other parts of Africa.
To date, close to 140 people had been arrested on various charges relating to violent attacks, he said. Criminals were hijacking genuine protests.
EFF MP Hlengiwe Hlophe told MPs the party believed no black person could ever be a foreigner in South Africa.
The party put the blame for recent xenophobic attacks squarely at the ANC’s feet and said the party had failed to transform people’s lives.
“There can be no harmonious living together while a tiny minority still own 80 percent of the land. [The] ANC must give our people land [immediately], not tomorrow.”
FF Plus MP Corné Mulder said a no-tolerance message needed to be sent, and it should not be made a race debate.
DA MP Sejamothopo Motau said xenophobia, homophobia, racism, and religious intolerance, bedevilled the nation’s social fabric. “To defeat this scourge, we need to get to the root causes of the problem and eradicate them. Political correctness will not get us anywhere, as experience has shown.”
The ACDP called for all criminals, including illegal immigrants, to be brought to book, and for all brothels to be shut down.
Agang MP Andries Plouamma said the country needed to move away from the premise that foreigners were taking jobs. Foreign governments had been essential to South Africa’s struggle for freedom.
He said people were watching looting on a massive scale in government.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said the vast majority of foreign nationals in the country were documented and chose to be in the country because of its diversity.
“We are not perfect, but we have a lot to be proud of.”
He would not accept the notion that South Africans were xenophobic.
Unscrupulous businesses were taking advantage of South Africans and hired immigrants for below the minimum wage. Businesses should ensure that no less than 60 percent of employees were South African.
“We are clear and unapologetic that the South African government must prioritise its own citizens for employment opportunities,” he said.
Gigaba said it was impossible and not desirable to close South African borders. It was short-sighted to think of immigrants as only taking jobs from South Africans, he said.
Meanwhile, The ANC on Tuesday cautioned its members and alliance partners against calling for members of President Jacob Zuma’s executive to step down.
“The cacophony of noise for a minister to resign from the structures and alliance of the ANC is not helping the situation,” the ANC’s Zizi Kodwa told News24.
He was responding to growing calls for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to resign over her handling of the social grants debacle.
“We have had calls from a number of structures of the alliance. It is not their responsibility,” Kodwa said.
“Let’s leave government to deal with the issues being dealt with around Sassa.”
Dlamini has faced severe criticism of failing to act timeously to ensure that social grants would be paid from April 1, when the current, invalid, contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) ends.
In 2014, the Constitutional Court declared the SA Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) contract with CPS invalid, but suspended the order so that a new arrangement could be put in place this year.
Dlamini told Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts on Tuesday that negotiations with CPS were ongoing.
Last week, trade union federation Cosatu said the saga felt less like “administrative bungling” or a “political own goal”, but instead smelt like corruption.
Kodwa said the ANC had held meetings with various ministers and people involved in the matter. The responsibility to appoint ministers rested solely with Zuma. — AFP