Mon | May 22, 2017

Africa for all Africans

Published:Thursday | April 23, 2015 | 4:00 AM
Protesters hold placards prior to a march against immigrant attacks in Cape Town, South Africa, yesterday.

Below is a statement from the South African High Commission in Jamaica regarding violent attacks on foreign nationals in its country.

THE SOUTH African govern-ment condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent outbreak of violent attacks against foreign nationals, particularly fellow Africans from various African countries, in the KwaZulu-Natal Province and other parts of the country.

South Africa's transition to democracy was one of the world's most iconic testimonies of tolerance and peaceful co-existence. Under the stewardship of the father of a democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela, the country had an unwavering dedication to democracy, self-lessness, reconciliation, service to humanity and a better life for all - we will stay the course in this regard.

The recent attacks on foreign nationals, particularly fellow Africans from various African countries, are a threat to our historical achievements as a nation. Moreover, the attacks go against the democratic values enshrined in the constitution.

CRIMINAL OFFENCE

The South African govern-ment views the attacks on foreign nationals as a criminal offence that will not be tolerated. South Africa is a constitutional democracy governed by laws. Everyone working and living in the country must obey its laws in their totality. No one has the right to take the law into their own hands. The South African government will enforce the laws of the country and will not hesitate to act against criminal activity or those found to incite violence.

The South African government will also do everything within its power to ensure the safety of all citizens and foreign nationals irrespective of their status. Similarly, foreign nationals must meet all the legislative and regulatory requirements as prescribed by our immigration laws.

South Africa is a multicultural society that welcomes and promotes interaction among people of different backgrounds. As such, nothing can justify the criminal activity and intolerance that these attacks represent. Solutions can be reached through constructive engagement and by working together.

South Africa is a signatory to various international obligations that protect foreign nationals and refugees, including the Geneva Protocol on Refugees. As a signatory to this protocol, and as a country that cherishes human rights, we have to protect the basic rights of every human being within our borders, including foreign nationals.

Since the advent of democratic governance in 1994, South Africa has worked cordially with African countries not only to consolidate bilateral relations that are flourishing politically, economically and socially, but also to advance continental integration.

South Africa will not forget the hospitality and support we received from fellow Africans during the difficult times of

our anti-apartheid liberation struggle. During this time, it was Africa that opened its doors and became home for many South Africans who fled the persecution of the apartheid government. For many decades, Africans fought side by side with South Africans in a war against apartheid, contributing to the freedom we have today. The South African government, therefore, urges South Africans not to allow a few individuals to reverse and undermine our historical achievements.

DRIVEN BYVISION

South Africa's foreign policy is driven by the vision to achieve an African continent that is peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, united, and prosperous which contributes to a world that is just and equitable. South Africa pursues this vision, informed by the values of Ubuntu (Humanity). Our foreign policy is a logical extension of our domestic policy of contributing to a better life for all - an approach that we will not allow to be compromised by criminal elements.

The constitution of our country protects the rights of all people living within the country - South Africans and foreigners alike. The South African government will, therefore, do everything within the law to ensure the safety of all citizens and foreign nationals irrespective of their status.