You are playing with fire; Sadc warns xenophobic South Africans

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By Anna Chibamu and Sharleen Mohammed

SADC executive secretary, Elias Magosi, has warned South Africans against engaging in xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals living and working in their country as this could breed resentment against the country’s own citizens domiciled in other states.

Addressing journalists after paying a courtesy call on President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday, Magosi said those with xenophobic tendencies must consider that there are many South Africans enjoying warm hospitality in other countries.

“I think the message that I should share with those that are doing this is that in those countries, especially South Africa, they should know that they have citizens elsewhere. Their own citizens are in other parts of this region. They would not want to see this happening to them,” Magosi said.

“There are citizens of South Africa that are enjoying peace in the other 15 countries in the region, and that is what we want for citizens of Zimbabwe or any other nation as they go into South Africa to seek economic opportunities and to go and contribute to that nation’s economy,” he said.

“South Africans must also know that these foreign nationals are also contributing to the economic development of that particular country. They should see a positive visa viz negativity.”

Magosi said the Sadc secretariat would engage the South African government over the continued xenophobic attacks.

“We will engage with the Republic of South Africa to find solutions to the issues. Citizens of all countries in the region should not be moving around looking over their backs or feeling insecure. Those are the things that are happening in the region and the SADC secretariat is concerned about it.”

“We also encourage these two governments to engage at the highest level to make sure that the safety of citizens, either in Zimbabwe or South Africa, is secure or not compromised anywhere.”