'All xenophobic attacks of this kind are inherently criminal' says Eusebius

International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has called the attacks on foreign nationals criminal and not xenophobic.

Sisulu and Police Minister Bheki Cele met with the ambassadors of African countries in Pretoria on Monday to discuss last week's attacks on foreign nationals in KwaZulu-Natal.

Read: Xenophobic attacks 'related to careless remarks by SA political leaders'

Show host Eusebius McKaiser says he disagrees with the minister's stance.

Firstly, how much research has the government done to try and understand what the motivations were behind these most recent attacks to be able to rule out Afrophobic or xenophobic motives behind them.

Eusebius McKaiser, Presenter

Secondly, the two are not mutually exclusive. All xenophobic attacks of this kind are inherently criminal. The question is not whether they are criminal but whether they are also accompanied by and motivated by xenophobic sentiment.

Eusebius McKaiser, Presenter

That is very important so that you can intervene properly, knowing what it is that you are intervening in. If you say it is sheer criminality, then in a sense you are in denial about what some of the underlying drivers are and what the phenomenon is that you need to tackle here politically.

Eusebius McKaiser, Presenter

Calling it criminality is the first step, but you cannot stop there. I mean that is entirely unacceptable.

Eusebius McKaiser, Presenter

He adds that for the minister to acknowledge that these attacks are xenophobic, is to recognise that the fundamental political and international legal obligations that South Africa has towards citizens from other countries are not being taken seriously by the current government.

There is an international law interest and there is also a geopolitical interest in the minister reducing the description of what is going on here, which is why she is restricting herself to a description of criminality.

Eusebius McKaiser, Presenter

Quite frankly minister, that is utterly irresponsible. It is insensitive and we have to be clear about the reality of what you are dealing with.

Eusebius McKaiser, Presenter

Callers also weighed in on the minister's stance, and Keneilwe says she does not believe that South Africans are xenophobic.

Whether it is the minority or the marginalised women and children, I would rather have a focus on policy that strengthens the law, strengthens the capacity of the police - because I would question the agenda of painting South Africans as xenophobic.

Keneilwe, Caller

Diamond also called in and says the attacks on foreign nationals in Durban are xenophobic.

The issue is that politicians come in and say reckless comments which instil violence in the communities.

Diamond, Caller

Zaine says these attacks are more Afrophobia than they are xenophobic and people need to look at what the drivers of these attacks are.

Part of the problem is that we have public representatives and politicians that say things in public spaces that add fuel to the fire instead of actually trying to deal with the problem.

Zaine, Caller

Watch below as Eusebius shares his views:

Listen below to the full #702openline:


This article first appeared on 702 : 'All xenophobic attacks of this kind are inherently criminal' says Eusebius


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