Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda says the Head of State is deeply concerned with the continued attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa, but disagrees with the retaliatory approach taken by Malawi.
A fresh wave of xenophobic attacks has engulfed parts of Durban, South Africa, since Monday, where some natives have been targeting foreigners who they are accusing of taking their jobs and being behind the country’s high rate of unemployment and poverty.
Hundreds of foreigners, mostly smallholder shop owners were attacked in incidences that left several dead and over 250 forced out of their homes.
Speaking to journalists in Kabwe yesterday, Chanda said although no report of any Zambian attacked was received, President Lungu had called on the chairman of SADC to rally support from other Heads of State and stop the ugly stain on the region.
“The President has telephoned the SADC chairman, His Excellency Hage Geingob to express this concern and to rally solidarity in support of South African authorities to deal with this problem so that it does not cause further insecurity,” said Chanda who earlier tweeted that the President was also deeply concerned with the retaliation by some Malawians.
“Reports reaching Zambia so far are that South African nationals are targeting Malawians in the xenophobic attacks that have rocked that country in the last few days.”
He said in retaliation, Malawian nationals yesterday set ablaze a South African bus, a situation which he described as an ugly occurrence.
Chanda said President Lungu, as Chairperson for Troika, wanted to ensure that the problem was sorted out soon so that SADC could retain its exemplary character as a peaceful bloc in the African Union.
Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Malanji has cautioned Zambians in that country to conduct their business careful and avoid falling victim of the attacks.
“Our Zambian Mission has sent a communiqué to the association in South Africa to make sure that they mind the way they move. They should not travel late in the night to avoid being victims of these attacks,” said Malanji.
The xenophobic attacks are said to have been instigated by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, who accused foreigners of opening shops and businesses in South Africa without permits of licences.
Police took up the sentiment as an ‘order’ and moved in to confiscate foreign owned goods while other citizens went on rampage attacking immigrants