Ambassador Masilo Esau Mabeta of South Africa and Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan have condemned xenophobic attacks carried out against African nationals living in South Africa.
The two diplomats registered their disdain for the violent actions in separate speeches delivered on Tuesday, April 28 at a resort in Monrovia during a program marking the observance of South Africa’s Freedom Day.
Ambassador Mabeta described those involved in the xenophobic attacks as a “criminal minority,” assuring that South African President Jacob Zuma has condemned the acts and that those involved will be appropriately prosecuted.
The South African Ambassador assured that his Government was taking the issue very seriously and that it will continue to welcome and protect all foreigners in the country.
Since some Zulus in South Africa began the xenophobic attacks on other African nationals, several southern African countries including Mozambique and Malawi have taken their citizens out of the country where about seven persons have been killed in the incidents.
The South African Envoy said he was confident that South Africa will return to being a place that integrates migrants and refugees into host communities in accordance with its international obligations.
“South Africa will be engaging in various activities, not only policing, but also education and communications programs to ensure that the country again returns to being a welcoming place for refugees and migrants. We will ensure that all foreigners find a secure, thriving home with us,” he pledged.
He added that to restore good relations between his people and other African residents is not predicated upon international obligations, or out of gratitude for the warm and gracious manner in which South Africans were received in exile during apartheid. They do it because they believe it is the right thing to do.
He expressed his condolences to the people of Liberia for the loss of lives during the Ebola crisis, adding that although South Africa did not send medical experts here to help in the Ebola fight, his country donated motorcycles, ambulances, medications, food and other items.
Minister Ngafuan admitted that while Liberia along with other African countries join South Africa in celebrating Freedom Day, it was necessary to express that they are doing so with a mixture of joy and sadness.
“Our hearts are saddened by the recent spate of violent and tragic Xenophobia, or to put it precisely, “Afrophobic” attacks against Africans of other nationalities residing in South Africa, which have led to the deaths of some foreign workers and business owners,” Minister Ngafuan said.
He admonished that the attacks, which have claimed the attention of the world, risks detracting from the exalted and enviable position South Africa occupies on the African continent.
Minister Ngafuan exclaimed, “I know that the late Madidba, the man whose election on April 27, 1994 we now celebrate as Freedom Day, might have rolled uncomfortably in his grave as he watched the ghastly spectacle of Africans chasing Africans with machetes in his dear South Africa.”
He conveyed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s greetings to the people of South Africa on the celebration of Freedom Day and Liberia’s appreciation for their contributions to the fight against the Ebola virus.