Over 5 000 at NMMU anti-xenophobia march


Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, has condemned the recent spate of xenophobic violence, describing it as having no place in a democratic society.

Speaking after taking part in an anti-xenophobia peace march held by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Thursday afternoon, Masaulle, accompanied by Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor Benson Fihla as well as NMMU Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz, said that the attacks was nothing short of criminal and that the tarnishing of the country’s achievements by inciting violence against fellow Africans, must be eradicated.

“We are a constitutional democracy, our country is governed by a laws, and indeed just as we have seen with those who were wielding knifes and attacking other human beings, our justice system must make it possible, that people like those must stay in jail for as long as possible because they are not representing what we are as a nation,” he said, referring to the murder of Mozambican national, Emmanuel Sithole, whose death caused wide scale outrage after pictures of him being attacked, was published on the cover of the Sunday Times.

Reacting to the murder of Port Elizabeth teacher Jade Panayiotou, Masaulle told the near-on 5 000 students who marched from the Universality’s North to South campus, that her killing was similar to the attacks on foreigners, and that it too must the condemned in the strongest terms.

“We learnt with dismay that a life of another teacher, going to school in the morning, preparing to give lessons to children, gets killed on the way to work. Such criminality, it is similar to those who do criminal attacks in the name of Xenophobia, we must condemn all those acts,” he said.

Masualle also said that hospitality should be shown towards the country’s that helped during the struggle as they never displayed remorse against South Africa.

“Ourselves were recipients, not so long ago, of the kindness we received in many of these African countries. It cannot be therefore that we don’t see them as our own brothers and sisters”.

Similarly Prof Swartz said that the march proves the solidarity of human race irrespective of the colour, origin, language or creed, and that a line against the violence had been drawn.

“A university is an open space [where] we celebrate inclusivity and diversity. People come from all walks of life. For us, an attack against a person on the basis of his/her nationality, creed or culture is absolutely and quintessentially wrong. It violates the very nature of what a university is all about”.

“If our country cuts itself off from the world and if we attempt to construct a future based on only what we know mono-cultural systems and we don't embrace the diversity of all our people on the continent, this country will also die,” he said, adding that those who were involved with the attacks, must be made aware of the consequences and taught not to act violent against “our brothers and sisters”.


CAPTION: Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masaulle and Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor Benson Fihla taking part in the anti-xenophobia march between the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University's North and South Campuses, along with some 5 000 students