By- SADC has engaged the South African government over its citizens who are killing Zimbabweans accusing them of taking their jobs
SADC said Ramaphosa must protect African citizens domiciled in South Africa against xenophobic attacks.
After paying a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa yesterday, the newly elected SADC Executive Secretary Mr Elias Magosi said, as the head of the secretariat driving programmes and policies of the 16-member bloc, he intends to ensure there is regional integration.
His call comes amid rising tensions in South Africa where foreigners have once again been under attack from South Africans in an Afrophobic wave that is code-named Operation Dudula.
Last month, a Zimbabwean Elvis Nyathi was brutally murdered by South Africans in Diepsloot in a foreboding repeat of other equally brutal and callous attacks on foreigners.
However, Mr Magosi said such actions are an anathema to the founding values of the regional bloc that was founded in August 1992.
“The idea of the founding fathers of the community was to ensure that we integrate and that we have our citizens moving freely across the region, that means they could find economic activity anywhere in the region.
“Zimbabweans could move into Botswana, and citizens of Botswana could move to Zimbabwe or anywhere in the region without fear that when working they should be looking behind their back feeling that they are insecure, so those aspects that have been in the Republic of South Africa, obviously as the secretariat and Sadc, we will be concerned about.
“We are concerned about it and we are engaged with the leadership of the Republic of South Africa for them to find solutions,” he said.
He said the region also encourages bilateral engagements between member states in the event of xenophobia, which has lately been simmering in South Africa at the instigation of Operation Dudula, which is targeting Africans in what some have described as Afrophobia.
“We encourage governments to engage at the highest level to make sure that citizens in either country are secure and that the security is not compromised. The message that I would send to those practising it, say in South Africa, is that they have citizens elsewhere and would not want their citizens in other parts of the region to be treated like that.
“There are citizens of South Africa who are enjoying peace in the other 15 member states and that is what we would want for citizens of Zimbabwe, if they go to South Africa looking for opportunities, and the South Africans must realise that these citizens that are coming are for the economic development of their country,’’ he said.