Posted on Monday, 13 April 2015 15:03

South Africa xenophobia is 'afrophobia'

By Crystal Oderson in Cape Town

File photo©ReutersSouth Africa's leading trade union has joined the chorus of condemnation of the latest wave of deadly attacks against foreigners in KwaZulu- Natal province.

The xenophobic attacks at the weekend spread to the province's largest township of Kwamashu where law enforcement agents were said to be overwhelmed.

 if you look into the content you will see that it's afrophobia

Hundreds of people have been housed by the local Red Cross in Durban, having fled their homes after the violence broke out two weeks ago.

Police said close to 30 people had been arrested for looting and torching immigrants' shops.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it "condemned the unacceptable xenophobic attacks against non-nationals, particularly directed to fellow Africans".

Cosatu's Bongani Masuku said even if there were genuine grievances, there was "no justification to direct our anger at other suffering people".

"We commit to continue working with alliance components and the rest of society to confront this scourge," he said.

Temporary shelter has been set up in areas such as Isipingo, Chatsworth and Greenwood Park in Durban to accommodate the displaced and additional police have been deployed to beef up security in all affected areas.

Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba called on leaders to avoid making statements that may result in possible instigation or harm of whatever form, particular in this very delicate situation now.

The government has condemned the attacks and President Jacob Zuma on Sunday dispatched several high profile ministers to KwaZulu-Natal to assess the situation.

"We reiterate that there can be no justification for attacking foreign nationals," Zuma said in a statement.

Meanwhile, ruling African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe said people must be educated on the issue of xenophobia, which he described as "afrophobia".

"It's afrophobia and if you look into the content you will see that it's afrophobia, because when African refugees walk in here they walk in here and go to townships predominantly and there's a scramble for resources there and the tension takes the form of afrophobia," he said.

Mantashe said South Africa should be building refugee camps instead of trying to integrate immigrants with locals.

In the past, South Africa has been hit by deadly xenophobic attacks that left several people dead.

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