South Africa: Not such a rainbow nation

South Africa: Not such a rainbow nation

President Jacob Zuma condemned acts of violence between citizens and non-nationals, his office said in a statement on Friday.

Resentment against foreigners has sometimes turned deadly in South Africa amid accusations that they take jobs from locals in a country where unemployment is above 25 percent.

At least 20 stores in Pretoria owned by foreigners were looted this week in the Rainbow nation.

If unchecked, these xenophobic attacks could soon engulf Pretoria and spread to other parts of South Africa, as they have in the past.

South African police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to break up clashes between local protesters and immigrants at a rally in Pretoria against foreigners. "Those involved in crime happen to be amongst them, those who come from other countries". Xenophobia must not be allowed to rear its ugly head in South Africa and Gauteng in particular.

Riot police in Pretoria formed lines to keep apart about 1,000 protesters.

"I've been told people leading the march are saying it's not an anti-foreigners march, it is anti-crime", Zuma told journalists Friday.

"We are deeply saddened by these acts of violence that have taken place against the foreign nationals, especially the Nigerians affected in these communities". This dramatic move was slammed by the South African government as "unfortunate and regrettable".

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Nusa also said that some of its members had received threatening phone calls asking for payment to protect their houses and businesses.

The MP's suggestion, though unpopular with his colleagues, has been supported by an worldwide relations expert, Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso who believes it is one of the many measures to end the attacks in South Africa.

"The government is in touch with South African authorities to ensure the safety of Nigerians there", she added, appealing to the media not to fuel the crisis further with unconfirmed reports.

He said only 5% of immigrants were refugees.

Responding, the spokesperson of Nigeria's Foreign Affairs ministry, Clement Aduku urged the protesting students to be calm as the federal government is now engaging in talks with its South African counterpart over the xenophobic attacks.

Recall that there have been renewed xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other foreigners in Sternkopf, Namakwa Municipality, Northern Cape Province of South Africa.

The group's spokesman, Makgoka Lekganyane, said they were exhausted of jobs going to Nigerians, Pakistanis and Zimbabweans, among other foreign nationals, ahead of South Africans.

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