South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was forced to clarify his remarks about foreigners who set businesses in that country illegally.
Ramaphosa’s statement during a pre-election rally a few days ago was interpreted as an incitement of the xenophobic attacks currently being experienced in Durban. He said:
Everybody just arrives in our townships and rural areas and set up businesses without licences and permits, we are going to bring this to an end. And those who are operating illegally wherever they come from must now know….
While addressing an African National Congress fundraising dinner held at the Coastlands Hotel in Durban on Friday night, Ramaphosa said the attacks on foreigners were wrong. Said Ramaphosa:
The attacks on foreign nationals for whatever reason is a form of intolerance which the people of this country have rejected many times before, and we must do so again and again and again.
As South Africans, we’re not an intolerant people, and we can’t be defined as being intolerant. We can’t be defined as not wanting to live side by side with people from other nations.
These attacks that have been levelled against people from other countries are wrong and they violate everything that our people fought for over many decades. As for me, I condemn them in the strongest terms because this is not us.