By Thandiwe Garusa
SOUTH African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has condemned the murder of a Zimbabwean man, Elvis Nyathi, and likened radical group, Operation Dudula’s method to those used by the deadly apartheid regimes.
Nyathi was stoned and burned to death in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, for not having a passport by members of the infamous Operation Dudula.
The operation is aimed at flushing out foreigners accused by locals of taking their jobs and increasing the crime rate.
In a statement, Ramaphosa described it as immoral, racist, and criminal.
“It is, therefore, deeply disturbing how the recent incidents of anti-foreigner sentiment in parts of the country echo our apartheid past,” Ramphosa said.
“Attacking those we suspect of wrongdoing merely because they are a foreign national is not an act of patriotism. It is immoral, racist, and criminal. The events in the Gauteng township of Diepsloot last week were a tragedy,” he said.
“During a single weekend, seven people were killed, sparking protests. This loss of life is deplorable, as is the killing of a fellow African from Zimbabwe, allegedly at the hands of vigilantes. Crime is a serious problem in this country. It affects all communities and people are justifiably tired of living in fear of criminals,” he added.
“Contrary to what is claimed by some anti-immigration groupings and individuals, the perpetrators of crime are both black and white, male, and female, foreigner, and citizen. Crime, not migrants, is the common enemy we must work together to defeat,” Ramaphosa said.
“We cannot defeat crime through incitement, violence, intimidation and vigilantism aimed at foreign nationals, and specifically nationals from other African countries. I want to appeal to all South Africans, but particularly to younger South Africans who thankfully never experienced the true brutality and dehumanisation of apartheid. Let us not become like the ones who oppressed us, no matter how legitimate the grievance. Let us work together to resolve our country’s challenges without resorting to violence or vigilantism. Today, our anger may be directed at nationals from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Nigeria, or Pakistan. Tomorrow, our anger may be directed at each other.”