The South African government needs to stop running away from dealing with xenophobia, and it must also stop unnecessarily accommodating foreign nationals, said PresidentJacob Zuma’s son on Tuesday.
Edward Zuma, who recently expressed his anti-foreigner sentiments, told News24 that he may be the president’s son but his opinions were independent to those of the president.
“The South African Human Rights Commission can arrest me for my comments, it’s fine. I am not the citizen of President Jacob Zuma. I am a citizen of South Africa. My thinking is independent to that of the president,” he said.
“These are my personal views and I am sticking to what I said and I will die with it.
‘Ticking time bomb’
Zuma condemned the recent attacks on foreign nationals in KwaZulu-Natal and said those caught looting or attacking foreign nationals should be dealt with legally.
“What is happening in KwaZulu-Natal is exactly what I was talking about when I said South Africa is sitting on a ticking time bomb.
“People think that I am being xenophobic but I am not, I am just trying to make a point that we have a problem.
“There was a woman that was shot by a foreigner in Umlazi. My question is where did they [foreign nationals] get guns from? And the problem is that the police won’t be able to trace some of these guys [because they do not have legal documents to be in the country].
“All those that are in this country illegally must leave. I do not blame them [South Africans] for being angry but what can government do? Home Affairs and the South African Social Security Agency [Sassa] are taking care of them but South Africans will still be angry.”
‘I’m not apologetic’
He said South Africa was known for being a very friendly country, but “we are also unnecessarily accommodating illegal immigrants in this country”, charged Zuma.
King Goodwill Zwelithini never said that foreign nationals should be attacked, he added.
“We accept foreign nationals that are in the country legally and contributing to the South African economy with their skills. But, we do not accept foreign nationals that shoot our mothers and sisters.
“When we were fighting for the liberation of this country, they [comrades] were accommodated all over, in Russia, America and other African states but there were rules that needed to be abided by. But these guys are doing as they please in South Africa.
“We [South Africa] needs to stop being soft. Some of them are hiding behind the United Nations Human Rights. Look at the march that took place in Durban last week, they must also follow of rules in this country. In South Africa, whether you are in Cosatu, ANC or the SACP, for them to have a march, you need to make an application to the municipality for permission for them to march.
“These are unruly people in the country and I am not going to be apologetic about it. In America, you are questioned why you are there.
“They would never do that [reside illegally] in America. If this is the character they are showing then they must go.”
‘Stop taking advantage’
Zuma said foreign nationals must present themselves to the Department of Home Affairs and be registered as South Africans.
“Remember when I said that we are sitting on a ticking time bomb, this is what I was talking about. You never know whether they are funding ISIS [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] and al-Shabaab. However, I am not saying that they are.
“South Africa is a country that believes in verbal engagements. That is how we got the freedom we enjoy today, it was through negotiations.
“People must stop taking advantage of us [South Africa]. President Robert Mugabe in 2012 urged Zimbabweans in the diaspora to return home… it is a pity that the French or the Russian presidents have not done the same,” he said.
Zuma said his statements were directed at all foreigners, not just to those hailing from African states.
“They are also contributing to the problem… South Africans need to stop being apologetic, we appreciate what they did for us in the past but they should not take advantage,” said Zuma.