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Ramaphosa: SA must quell attacks on foreigners

African leaders are calling on Ramaphosa to take swift action.
President Cyril Ramaphosa pledges to stop violence as tensions between South Africans and foreign nationals rise, hurting relations with African allies. Image: Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told officials and business leaders on Wednesday that he was committed to quelling attacks on foreigners that have threatened to cast a cloud over an economic forum aimed at boosting intra-African trade.

Police have arrested dozens of people and confirmed several deaths after riots in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria in recent days, when roving groups attacked shops mainly owned by migrants from the rest of Africa.

Read: Xenophobic attacks leave migrants living in fear

MTN Nigeria says all stores will be closed after anti-South African attacks

It is unclear what ignited the latest round of violence, but analysts say contributing factors include high unemployment and frustration with limited economic opportunities.

The wave of unrest has kindled memories of previous deadly attacks on foreigners and strained diplomatic relations with Africa’s other economic powerhouse Nigeria.

South African businesses MTN and Shoprite closed stores in Nigeria on Wednesday after their facilities in the country came under attack.

Other African countries from Ghana to Ethiopia and regional bloc the African Union have called on Ramaphosa to take decisive action. Artists and ordinary citizens from across the continent have taken to social media to voice their anger, with some threatening retaliation.

“Taking action against people from other nations is not justified and should never be allowed in our beautiful country. … We need to quell those incidents of unrest,” Ramaphosa told an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Africa three-day summit starting on Wednesday.

“South Africa must be a country where everyone feels safe, including women and foreign nationals,” Ramaphosa said, also condemning recent incidents where women had been killed.

Student protest

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Malawi’s Peter Mutharika pulled out of the conference at the last minute, prompting speculation in South African media that the no-shows were linked to the attacks on foreigners.

But WEF spokesman Oliver Cann said Kagame and Mutharika had informed conference organisers that they could not attend by Saturday, before the attacks had started.

Read: Protesters try to gain entrance to Africa conference

Zimbabwe’s foreign minister, part of a large Zimbabwean government contingent including president Emmerson Mnangagwa, said the recent attacks were “unfortunate”.

“It is unfortunate that African brothers go against each other neck on neck in that kind of scenario, in an environment where we are looking forward to regional integration and co-operation and where Africa as a whole has embraced the continental free trade agreement as a bedrock of integration,” Sibusiso Moyo told Reuters.

“We just implore our brothers in the region to note that peaceful co-existence is one of the key fundamentals,” he said.

There are a significant number of Zimbabweans living in South Africa and they have formerly borne the brunt of attacks on foreigners, along with Somalians and Nigerians.

Hundreds of University of Zambia students dressed mostly in black and chanting “No Violence” protested outside the South African high commission against the attacks on foreigners on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) called off the country’s friendly soccer international against South Africa in Lusaka on Saturday, citing “prevailing security concerns in South Africa”.

Hundreds of mainly female students protesting about violence against women tried to storm the conference centre in Cape Town where the WEF conference was being held, but they were restrained by a heavy police presence.

The protesters shouted slogans like “We want justice” and sang songs from the struggle against apartheid while conference delegates peered through the glass to watch the spectacle.


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strange, very strange? That is not what you said before the elections…..

Would someone be so kind to send this to Cyril to get his comment.

Wonder what explanation (read lie) he’ll pull out of a hat to “justify” or “explain” how his words were “misinterpreted” or that it was not him saying those things on TV.

There is a vast difference between LEGAL immigrants and ILLEGAL immigrants. Good luck pushing this narrative.

his supporters does not know the difference!


I agree, there is a vast difference between a legal and illegal immigrants.

But that’s not the point to be honest.

Do you honestly think South Africans are asking foreigners if they are here legally or illegally and whether their business has a legal business licence before they loot and burn the business or the people?

Do you honestly think a mob is that reasonable?

That is why I said I wonder what explanation / reasoning Cyril would give as to why what he said was misinterpreted or miscommunicated, because clearly it was, cause and point, the violence we see.
Cyril never said burn, kill or loot, but he did say “We are going to bring this to an end and those that are operating illegally, wherever they come from, must now know”.

So here are a few interpretations that can come from what he said.
Cyril says “we are going to bring this to an end” so that could mean people hear either the ANC, as Cyril refers to himself and the party as “we” are going to take care of the problem or the “we” refers to everyone there or the whole country, who knows who Cyril really included in his use of the word “we”.

But again, this is not even the main point.

South Africans have come to learn that since 1994 the ANC only really talks about issues, they rarely, if ever actually do something.

Let’s just take the #FeesMustFall situation and there are numerous examples which play out the same way.
ANC promises something, ANC doesn’t deliver, people protests and riot with violence ensuing, ANC reacts and the promise is fulfilled.

So the take away from this is (very simplified):

– ANC says something
– ANC does nothing
– People protest & riot
– ANC does something

Thus the following hypothesis that the ANC has taught South Africans that nothing the ANC says will come to action unless you protest and riot. If you protest and riot the ANC will most likely take notice and should violence ensue (and people die) it is even more likely that South Africans get rewarded with action.

So to bring it back to the xenophobia attacks.
– South Africans are unhappy about foreigners stealing jobs (because foreigners are willing to work for less) and setting up businesses (legally or illegal) as South Africans see this as a threat to their way of life and livelihood.
– They tell the SAPS or the ANC or whomever they are unhappy about the current situation.
– ANC does nothing besides talk saying “We are going to bring this to an end and those that are operating illegally, wherever they come from, must now know”
– South Africans see nothing is changing and the ANC is not doing anything.
– South Africans protest and riot to make themselves heard.
– ANC still doesn’t take any action.
– South Africans resort to violence, looting and burning property and people

Do you see how this conditioning that the ANC has indirectly or incidentally taught the people is a problem and that it is not going away any time soon?

It’s like a kid throwing a tantrum in a store because they can’t get a chocolate. Parent buys chocolate to get the kid to stop making a scene. Kid is quiet. Kid learns if I throw tantrum I get chocolate.

If the ANC keeps promising things and not following through we’ll keep on seeing violent protest and riots.

ANC promise no job losses at SOE’s. Should the ANC actually try and reign in the spending at Eskom by cutting jobs. Trade Union and the people will protest and riot.

ANC promises policies such as EWC and NHI and don’t deliver. People will protest and riot.

Therefore I keep coming to the conclusion that the ANC is the problem.

and now he has a PLAN ( another plan ) to stop gender-based violence. It makes one want to cry, not laugh anymore at these clowns.

A burning tyre cannot change economic policy, but your vote can. Chasing a Nigerian woman down the street cannot improve your life, but your vote can. Looting the shop of a person that provides a service to you will not increase your wealth, but your vote can. Burning down your school, beating your wife, disrespecting women and children and supporting the Zuma faction will not improve your reality, but your vote can.

Vote for the FF+ or DA and your life will change for the better. Save yourself, use the power of your vote wisely. Support those who want to help you. Stop supporting those who are stealing from you.


I agree 100%, but I have to wonder what happens if we don’t have a free and fair election in the future because the ANC doesn’t want to give up it’s power?

As Lord Acton wrote:

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.”

I’m wondering if I should wait or not to see how the future plays out.


I’m afraid you’re preaching to the converted …. the ones your comment is directed at don’t read Moneyweb, nor do they care.

Their violent emotions are a consequence of the political lies told to them over the last 25 years. How to change that mindset is a mystery.

That mindset will be changed believe you me, but it will be changed by the mechanism as described by Bastiat:

“When misguided public opinion honours what is despicable and despises what is honourable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns it’s back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.”
― Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Harmonies

correct Sensei….my motto always: ” a poor system will work itself out eventually “

Its much more profitable to grab and run than to work for it.

yes, bunch of cowards..

Here’s an idea, why not create an economic enviroment in which jobs can be created instead of looting the tax payer blind until they finally start venting their frustration on people who shouldn’t actually even be here in the first place!!!

It’s not tax payers as much as the unemployed and from the informal economy (hawkers) who are “venting frustrations” at foreign nationals. With an unemployment rate of 29% it’s not surprising – especially since many foreign nationals are undocumented.
The same is happening in many European countries, without the looting. There’s sure to be resentment from local South Africans – employers and short-distance Truck owners are breaking the law by employing undocumented people so they can pay peanuts as wages.
This is according to the Road Freight Organisation.

Wake up you clown! Remove all illegal aliens from SA. How is that difficult to do!

Expect Nigeria to do the same with our illegal citizens here (they won’t have any to send back). Who wants to live in Nigeria.

Well with an incompetent police force it’s harder than you think.

This was back in 2011:

MORE than 27000 police officers on active duty have failed the firearms proficiency test – making them a danger to their colleagues and the public.

This is according to a draft performance audit report by the SAPS internal audit unit dated December 14 2011.

The audit was conducted to assess the quality of training provided to police officers.

Yet, despite this, many still carry official service weapons.

The firearms test which the policemen failed is similar to that which ordinary citizens have to pass in order to obtain a firearm licence.

According to the report, 27329 (or 17%) of the 157704 police officers who underwent training to comply with the regulations of the Firearms Control Act, which took effect in 2004, failed firearms proficiency tests.

Findings in the 40-page report, based on an audit on training in the police force, included:

A total of 7578 of the 16123 operational members in the Eastern Cape have not yet been trained; and,

448 of the 1019 police members who failed firearms proficiency tests in the Western Cape were declared “untrainable” because of medical reasons or as a result of being declared unfit to possess a firearm.

The definition “untrainable”, a policeman told the Sunday Times, is also used for those who cannot even pick up a rifle or continually fail to hit a target during shooting practice.

Then we jump to 2014:

According to(sic) the SAPS’ latest annual report (to March 2014), the police service had a total workforce of 194,852 people.

This is made up of 36,304 employees in administration; 103,746 police officers engaged in visible policing; 39,748 detectives; 8,723 crime intelligence officers; and 6,331 protection and security officers.

As many as 40,000 operational members of the SAPS have failed or do not have firearm competency certificates.

This was back in 2011 and 2014. I fail to see how this could have improved in the last 5-8 years.

Would love to see a newer report.
Cyril would you be so kind as to ask Bheki Cele to send out the latest one, thanks!

Speaking of what MUST happen. All corrupt State Capture politicians, government officials and members of their thieving networks MUST be charged and jailed. This action is way too long overdue this Mr Prez.

Unfortunately, because these incompetent leaders can’t plan or lead, it will stay with TALK.

On Twitter: “The EFF leader has responded to reports of renewed xenophobia by asking his followers to rather direct their anger at wealthy white people.” What is your response to this Squirrel? But we want investment in the country?

So, give the police shamboks – with explicit instructions to use them.

To be honest this is a numbers game. The real cause of this is that the ANC let so many illegal immigrants in and lets them stay in through corruption and poor management.

They caused this tinder-box.

The biggest culprit to all of this is Malema and he is now very quiet. He is the guy that has created all the hatred we are now seeing.

Agree between him and Andile sowing hatred is there specialty.

I do not trust the unidentified leader for a second.

It is such a lame, pathetic response to every crisis, from Eskom to femicide to the economy to xenophobia, to say that “we” have to respond, work together, that “we” have to make our voices heard, etc.

I for one, I and am sure many other taxpayers, feel that I am only included as one of the “we” when government wants more something in return for f-all. That is exclusion, the easy argument.

The use of “we” is clever because it means that everyone is now collectively responsible for whichever crisis, even though the main causes – ANC thieving and bad policy – are common knowledge.

It also means that the responsibility is spread so thin, among millions, that no one, including government, actually needs to do anything.

Every time there is a protest “we” must deal with it. What? How?

An honest leader would take some responsibility for what went wrong and how to fix it.

Take the example of violence towards women, which is of epidemic proportions, and is the result in part of dreadful ANC policy decisions.

There used to be specialised sexual offences courts and police units dedicated to combat the scourge.

These were closed down for no other reason than to make sure everyone in the system is reduced to the lowest common denominator.

Now “we” in the words of the unidentified leader, must speak up.

Yes, it requires efforts from various sectors.

But hey, some of the “we” are in fact paying the salaries of lots of police, prosecutors, magistrates and social workers.

That is a large contribution towards fighting these type of crimes.

Protecting citizens is the duty of the state and an honest leader, with all those forces under his control, would acknowledge that.

An honest leader would probably also display a little bit of gratitude that the country is (barely) functioning as a result of the taxes from everyone, but mostly some, of the “we”.

End of rant.

Yada yada yada. This issue, like most others involving the ruling party, has gone nowhere in some 12 years. One thing I have learned about ANC culture is that actually doing something about an issue is not nearly as important as saying something about the issue. Has it struck you that they never indicate ‘how’ they are going to do things and it is as if the issue will miraculously self-correct. Then again we must accept that poor controls, guess by who, has let millions of illegals into the country. So why are locals attacking foreigners – who just took advantage of our porous borders – when their anger should be directed at Luthuli House.

Talk talk, that’s all.

Ramaphosa: “SA must quell attacks on foreigners”

Nigerian Pres Buhari responds: “Nigerians must quell attacks on SA businesses”

And all ends well…

A referendum on the death penalty will help to calm the angry populace. At least then we can start removing those that do the most harm.

@ Reuters – your line: “….have called on Ramaphosa to take decisive action” had me in stitches. Thank you. I wonder if we should tell all those kettles that this pot remains perpetually indecisive, and action is something he looks for over the weekend…

End of comments.





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