SOUTH Africa's Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has called on Gauteng province to lead in the fight against xenophobia.
Ramaphosa was addressing a Gauteng social cohesion summit in Johannesburg on Friday. The summit comprised of government, NGOs, civil society and was called to promote cohesion in society.
"As the province with the largest number of immigrants, Gauteng must lead the way in combating xenophobia in all its manifestations," Ramaphosa said.
"The people of this province must, through their actions, underscore the fact that foreign nationals pose no threat to our desire for social cohesion nor do they present any impediment to the achievement of a common South African nationhood."
The social cohesion summits are being held throughout South Africa in an attempt to encourage peaceful co-existence and development.
Ramaphosa's call comes hardly a week after the Gauteng City-Region Observatory and the University of the Witwatersrand, the Gauteng government, and the SA Local Government Association released the results of a survey which showed that people in the province were intolerant of foreigners.
Of the 25,000 South Africans interviewed, 35 percent said foreigners should be deported back to their countries.
But Ramaphosa said Pretoria had invested heavily "with a singular intention of moving South Africa forward and enhancing social cohesion".
"We need to act together, consciously and deliberately, to ensure that the differences and discord of the past do not define our future. Active citizenry is the cornerstone for achieving this vision," he said.
Attacks against foreigners are common in South Africa.
Only last week, shops owned by foreigners were looted in Johannesburg during a protest over land.
About 62 foreigners were killed in the worst violence against foreigners in 2008. The South Africans accused the foreigners of stealing their jobs.