Zuma meets immigrants over xenophobia


Pretoria – South African President Jacob Zuma is locked in a meeting with numerous leaders of organisations representing foreigners based in South Africa.

On Friday, local and international media camped at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria as the representatives were ushered into one of the rooms.

Ladislas Agbesi, chairman of the Pan African Business Forum said the meeting was critical in forging peace and harmony between South Africans and African immigrants.

“Currently Africa has a breed of leaders to lead this continent. We cannot always look back at the Kwameh Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba. This is a new era.”

“What is important is for us to share peace and reconciliation. The steps taken by President Zuma this morning are very import. We don’t believe that there can be xenophobia in this country,” said Agbesi as he arrived for the meeting.

A statement issued by the Presidency this week said the meeting would be attended by foreign nationals from the African continent. Representatives of immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh were also invited.

“The meeting is part of building partnerships with stakeholders in the country to ensure that the shameful attacks on foreign nationals do not recur in the country,” according to the statement.

Seven people died when violence targeted mainly at African immigrants erupted in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Government has deployed troops to assist police in quelling the violence.

On Wednesday, Zuma hosted a meeting with representatives of business, labour and religious organisations.

After the meeting, Zuma told reporters that a task team had been formed to coordinate efforts to combat the xenophobic violence which has resulted in hundreds of immigrants fleeing back to their home countries.