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South Africans are not xenophobic, says Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Alon Skuy

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured scared foreigners that South Africans are not xenophobic.

Responding to questions about recent attacks on foreigners, Ramaphosa said South Africans embraced foreign nationals.

“Our people are living side by side with people from other nations and we are very pleased with that. There’s peace and harmony in living together and where this thing has sort of erupted, it erupted because of criminal elements,” the president said on the sidelines of the party’s door-to-door campaign trail in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg on Thursday.

His remarks follow allegations that a group of about 100 people attacked spaza shop owners and other stores at Seacow Lake, Kernville, Overport and surrounding areas of Sydenham in Durban two weeks ago. During the sporadic attacks, some of the Malawian nationals were displaced after they were accused of stealing South Africans' goods.

“The violence was being spread by people with criminal intent, South Africans are not xenophobic. South Africans have always lived side by side with people from other nations,” Ramaphosa said.

He also urged Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba to address the needs of the people of Alexandra.

“The people there are really complaining about service delivery issues and they have been asking and pleading with the mayor to go and address them. They are focusing on the local government metro which has all the capabilities of addressing issues. They are complaining about issues of houses being built on the roadside. Those are the issues that are in the realm of local government.”

On Wednesday, residents of Alexandra brought the northern Johannesburg township to a standstill when they embarked on a service delivery protest under the banner #AlexTotalShutdown.

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