South Africa’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York will be at pains to dispel views that South Africa is xenophobic.
The delegation will be led by International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor, who has blamed the media for fuelling tensions.
“I think it is South African media that is depicting South Africa as xenophobic because South African media is very keen to keep this impression alive and I would urge the media of South Africa to help us to start sending a different message. We are dealing with a very complex matter and as South Africans we truly regret what happened in our country and that we are working hard to ensure we don’t have a recurrence of such incidents, that as a country we would do more to ensure we build bridges across both South African people as well as non-national resident in our country.”
Next week’s trip to the UN comes just weeks after a wave of violence targeting mostly foreign nationals in some parts of Gauteng.
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Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has again urged South Africans not to use foreign nationals as scapegoats for the country’s economic woes. He was addressing the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union Congress in Durban on Monday.
“Our integrity has therefore been negatively affected. We will have to work very hard as South Africans to regain our stature, our position and in this regard, it was best to just stand up and say we are sorry for what happened and in having said so we now need to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”