2 April 2019

South Africa: Government Agrees to Censure Deputy Police Minister for Remarks About Foreigners, Say African Ambassadors

analysis

The government has reportedly assured African ambassadors that Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi will be made to retract and repudiate allegedly xenophobic remarks he made in March 2019.

International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Police Minister Bheki Cele told African ambassadors in Pretoria on Monday that deputy police minister Bongani Mkongi would recant on remarks he made about how it was "dangerous" that a South African city was "80% foreign".

The assurance was given at a meeting to discuss ambassadors' concerns about a recent spate of attacks on African foreign nationals, mainly in KwaZulu-Natal.

The ambassadors felt Mkongi's remarks -- as well as some by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba -- encouraged attacks on foreigners. Ironically, the government's position has been that attacks on foreigners are not xenophobic, but are "pure criminality".

The meeting agreed that after investigations by police into the circumstances of the attacks, a wider meeting would be held on Friday to finalise a joint plan which had been discussed on Monday to try to address the recurring problem of attacks on foreigners and xenophobia.

Sisulu said after the meeting that the government had assured the African ambassadors that the South African authorities would do their...

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