A meeting between South Africa’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lindiwe Sisulu, and diplomats from African countries has concluded in the capital Pretoria with a promise of another meeting later in the week.
Two people were reportedly killed over the weekend following alleged xenophobic violence in the port city of Durban against migrants from Malawi.
Ms Sisulu told a media briefing there was need to gather more facts about what actually happened. She assured African migrants that they would be protected by the state.
“We repeat what the president has said – that what happened over the weekend, we believe with the information available to us, was pure criminality.
She said one South African was shot and killed when they tried to force themselves into a foreign-owned shop, while another was killed at a local mall.
Democratic Republic of Congo ambassador Bene Mpoko said that he was not going to get stuck in definitions – “when does xenophobia stop and where does criminality start, it’s a combination of all that”, he said.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the latest spate of xenophobic attacks in the country and called on security agencies to arrest perpetrators.
He said the violence was “regrettable, particularly on the eve of Freedom Month” marking 25 years since the end of apartheid
According to the department, some Malawian nationals have requested to go back home.
“A lot of them have now decided that they want to go home. So we’re in the process of making sure they get home peacefully. However, the minister this morning with the Malawi ambassador to South Africa has pleaded to say they are welcome to stay here and we don’t want to see them leave,” said deputy minister Luwellyn Landers.
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