South Africa: Durban Mayor Condemns Violence Aimed at Malawians
South Africa’s Mayor of Durban Zandile Gumede and the Malawi High Commissioner Gloria Bamusi have denied that recent violence aimed at Malawians in the city were xenophobic attacks. Instead, they stated on Friday that the bloody events at the Burnwood informal settlement in Durban last Tuesday were “criminally motivated.”.
Thugs targeted the Malawian nationals in sporadic outbreaks of violence in the Sydenham and Overport areas of the city. In at least two cases, the Malawians – men, women and children — were forced to seek refuge at local police stations — reminiscent of the widespread xenophobic attacks of early 2008. Some escaped with cuts to the head and some were robbed of their property.
But on Friday, the eThekwini council and the Malawi High Commission denied the violence was xenophobic in nature.
“Both the municipality and the Malawian High Commission are in agreement that the incidents that led to Malawians nationals being chased out of their homes are not xenophobic but were criminally motivated as their belongings were stolen by the angry mob,” the municipality said in a statement on Friday.
The statement added that the council and the commission were “working tirelessly” to integrate the foreign nationals back to their informal communities.
Gumede issued a stern warning to leaders of all political parties to desist from making populist statements that inflame xenophobia or any other form of discrimination. “No African is a foreigner in Africa,” she said.
In praising the municipality, Bamusi requested that police should respond rapidly to similar incidents. “We also call for the perpetrators to be brought to book.”