Ramaphosa slams attacks on foreign nationals as he also leads choir at Grace Bible Church

15 September 2019 - 13:12
By Mpho Sibanyoni
Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has lashed out at those perpetrating violent attacks against foreign nationals.

Ramaphosa on Sunday also came down hard against those unleashing gender-based violence as well as those demolishing public and private property when demonstrating.

His address at Grace Bible Church in Pimville, Soweto, came after he was booed when he spoke at the funeral of former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe on Saturday.

He said the nation should reflect deeply about the attacks targeting foreign nationals, which have thus far claimed the lives of 10 South Africans and two foreign nationals.

A number of businesses belonging to South Africans and foreign nationals have also been destroyed in attacks that started a month ago in Soweto when shops belonging to foreign nationals were looted.

The attacks escalated three weeks ago after the death of taxi driver Jabu Baloyi, who was shot dead by a suspected drug dealer. The taximen in Pretoria were demonstrating against those selling drugs in the capital city.

Trucks being driven by foreign nationals have been gutted, especially in Durban.

Ramaphosa said South Africans needed to display leadership as this was the expectation from the continent. 

"I am even ashamed to call it xenophobia because as South Africans we are not xenophobic," he said.

He said the country should take a stand against the attacks as they could mutate into tribalism.  "We must defeat the demon of tribalism. We must defeat the demon xenophobia and say Sourh Africans are not xenophobic, South Africans are not tribalism," he said.

After delivering the speech Ramaphosa, belted out the hymn The Holy Spirit must come down then Africa will be Saved. When the choir climbed onto the stage, Ramaphosa even went to lead the choir.

"I didn't know you could sing Mr President. I also didn't know you could conduct a choir as well Mr President," said Grace Bible Church presiding Bishop Mosa Sono.