International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor have called on the African Diaspora to collaborate with South Africa following recent attacks on foreign nationals.
Speaking at a meeting with the African Diaspora on Friday, Pandor said she had been informed that the diaspora — which works closely with communities — may have proposals that can help end tensions.
“I am told some of the organisations present here have worked on complex and challenging issues, and I hope to draw on your experience to develop effective responses. I wish us to collaborate to avoid more conflict and look forward to hearing your thoughts on what can be done,” she said.
She told the meeting held at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) offices in Pretoria that it is important to address the challenges of political and economic conditions.
“[These] condemn the majority of our fellow humans, particularly in poor countries, to the conditions similar to the ones on the slave ships that took our kith and kin away from the continent.”
Friday’s meeting came after South Africa announced the sending of special envoys to several African countries in a bid to address recent attacks on foreign nationals and some South Africans.
“I and all of DIRCO believe we cannot sit back and do nothing. We need your advice as to actions we should set in motion to prevent further tragedies,” said the Minister.
She said incidents of violence, intimidation and death witnessed recently require “us to avoid the pointing of fingers and reach out across all communities”.
The origin and sources of the antagonism and anger must be identified, she said, adding that she supports police action against the perpetrators of crime.
“Many suspects have been arrested, and we trust that our criminal justice system will have suspects tried speedily and incarcerated if found guilty. We need to go beyond that.”
She stressed that communities feel alienated and displaced while also living with a lack opportunity and jobs.
“Whilst the attacks are aimed largely at African migrants, we have also noted that many South African citizens are also among the victims. The fact that the violence is associated with theft, destruction of property and murder points to motives other than the hatred of non-South Africans,” she said.
The Minister also spoke of the need to address migration challenges on the continent.
“We need to find solutions to the management of migration on our continent,” she said.