Xenophobia: Pressure group calls on Mnangagwa to convene Sadc summit

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By Costa Nkomo

A local pressure group the Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) has called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa the current chairperson of regional bloc Sadc’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, to call an extra ordinary summit to resolve a new wave of xenophobic attacks that have hit South Africa.

Mnangagwa early this week called on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to “use a bit of force” in  dealing with the fresh violence flare-up that has thus far claimed five lives.

In a statement Thursday, SAPSN said condemning violence in South Africa is not enough, instead the civil group wants Mnangagwa to urgently convene a regional summit amid reprisals in Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique. In Nigeria South Africa was Thursday forced to close its embassy and a supermarket chain shop was torched in Lagos.

“Therefore, SAPSN calls upon: the SADC Chair on regional body’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa to call for an extraordinary meeting to execute the organ’s mandate on mediating in the affairs of member states that face instability.

“All Sadc member states and AU to make their views known on this matter and convene as a matter of urgency to map the way forward on how to stop South Africans from disrupting unity that Africans need so desperately,” the group said.

Mnangagwa who is already in South Africa for the African leg of the World Economic Forum despite other leaders from Malawi, Rwanda and the DRC pulling out in protests, indirectly told Ramaphosa to flex his muscles on lynch mobs who are burning, looting foreign owned shops and stoning foreigners to death.

“I have no doubt that the authorities here will not fold their hands. They must bring sanity and to do so, they must apply a bit of force,” Mnangagwa said.

He was speaking at the Zimbabwe Diaspora Federation organised dinner in Cape Town.

SAPSN also called on Ramaphosa to reign into his subordinate, Police Deputy Minister Bongani Mkongi who recently made utterances to the effect that foreign nationals have captured some towns in South Africa.

SAPSN said the utterances by Mkongi could have encouraged locals to wage anti-foreign campaign.

“SAPSN also finds it irresponsible, utterances by Hon. Bongani Mkongi, Deputy Minister of Police in South Africa saying some towns in South Africa are captured by foreign nationals, something which South Africans would not do in other countries.

“This is a reckless statement that deserve retraction as a matter of urgency,” the pressure group said.

SAPSN added that the South African government need to be reminded of its international obligation under the international migration convention that, “all people in the country irrespective of their nationality and immigration standards still have rights.”