The latest barbaric xenophobic attacks have claimed the innocent lives of foreigners who are being raped, shot and torched to death.
Such intolerance has no place in the new democratic South Africa. As a nation we have come a long way in upholding the principles of ubuntu.
What has happened to the powerful nation that made history with a smooth transition when doubters expected bloodshed? We impressed many around the world when we made a peaceful transition negotiated through dialogue.
These barbaric acts are the deeds of small pockets of South Africans and in no way represent the attitude of the majority.
As a nation we should fight this phenomenon with the vigour we fought apartheid.
It is asserted that the attacks are exacerbated by competition for resources in these communities. That does not justify killing foreigners or destroying their property .
President Thabo Mbeki's decision to have the attacks investigated must be welcomed.
The Bill of Rights as a cornerstone of our new democracy should be our source of inspiration and pride as a nation to affirm the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
So let us hold hands in the realisation of a better South Africa and a better world.
Jacky Mashapu, director:
public education, Department of Home Affairs, Pretoria