Heads of State and government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe yesterday condemned the recent attacks against African migrants in parts of Durban and Johannesburg in South Africa. The summit meeting was reacting to a briefing by South Africa President Jacob Zuma on the nature of the xenophobic attacks and measures taken by his government to restore peace.
According to a communique issued after the meeting, "Summit commended the measures that the government of South Africa has put in place and resolved to work together to deal with the situation and ensure it does not recur." The attacks affected the citizens of SADC member countries of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania, which were forced to evacuate their people.
The violence heightened tension between South Africa and its neighbours, some of whom threatened retaliatory measures. But briefing the media after the summit yesterday, The SADC Chairman, President Robert Mugabe, said the situation should not be blamed on South Africa alone. He said an virtually unchecked influx of migrants from neighbouring countries was stretching resources to the limit in South Africa, where the majority blacks were living in dire conditions.
"Only the whites are living well there. Our people should not have the instinct to rush to Johannesburg in the false hope that it is heaven," he said. The SADC Chair said one way to arrest the influx was for SADC member countries to improve their economies and attract their youth to stay and work at home. Hundreds of Zimbabweans, Malawians, Mozambicans and Zambians were evacuated following the attacks, but millions more, who are largely unskilled, remain in South Africa.
Twenty six Tanzanians were facilitated by the government to return home last week and the Tanzania High Commission in Pretoria is looking for others who may wish to return home. There was no Tanzanian among eight foreigners reported to have been killed in the attacks.
President Zuma has been quoted in the media as saying he would address the root causes of the xenophobic attacks, which he said were poverty, unemployment and immigration. An estimated 53 percent of the South African population lives below the poverty line, according to the United Nations. (Ends) .
Arrival of Dr. Bilal in Zimbabwe .
Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal is received by Tanzania Government Officials when he arrived at the Melkles Hotel in Zimbabwe. Dr. Bilal represented President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete at the SADC Heads of State Extra Ordinary Summit on Industrialization held in Harare yesterday.
High Commissioner of Tanzania to Zimbabwe, H.E Adadi Rajab makes a briefing to the Vice President prior the SADC Summit. On the left is the Minister of Industry and Trade, Hon. Dr. Abdallah Kigoda (MP).
High Commissioner of Tanzania to South Africa, H.E Radhia Msuya contributes a point during a briefing session towards SADC Summit.