Xenophobia meeting divided

Daveyton residents have expressed their views on xenophobic attacks at a meeting on Friday.

Reverend Frank Chikane. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

DAVEYTON - A handful of residents in the East Rand have told speakers at a dialogue on xenophobia that foreign nationals must remember they are strangers in South Africa.

The talk is being hosted by the South African Council of Churches (SACC) in the wake of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia's murder.

He was handcuffed to the back of a police van and dragged through the streets of Daveyton.

Church members that attended the dialogue said that when they went into exile, they were put into camps and did not stay in the country permanently.

Members added they did not stay in the countries long enough to get jobs.

But yet, others said the country must show compassion to African foreign nationals.

The anti-xenophobia action group said Macia's killing was "horrific and xenophobic".

The group also said the community of Daveyton has rallied together to say no to xenophobic attacks.

'CHURCHES MUST PLAY ACTIVE ROLE'

Former SACC general secretary Reverent Frank Chikane called on churches to play a more active role in communities and intervene in instances of xenophobia.

The Former Director-General in the Presidency told residents that churches only serve the interests of their members.

He also said places of worship were not adequately addressing divisions in society which lead to xenophobia.

The dialogue is being held in the aftermath Macia's alleged murder, whose death has been described as xenophobic.

Chikane said it was up to churches to promote unity among Africans from across the continent.

"If you do that, the foreigners amongst us cease to be foreigners and become human beings."

Chikane also said that if foreign nationals had a problem, it was South African society's problem to find and fix it.