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Zuma accused of inciting xenophobic violence

During his Sona address Jacob Zuma said foreign nationals wouldn't be allowed to own land in South Africa.

President Jacob Zuma during the State of the Nation Address in Cape Town on 12 February 2015. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has been accused of inciting violence against foreigners by restricting the ownership of land.

During his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday night, Zuma made no mention of the looting of foreign-owned shops last month but said foreigners would only be allowed to apply for long-term leases of land, and not ownership.

Tensions rose again yesterday when business owners in Diepkloof, Soweto, threatened to kill foreign business owners if they did not leave the area.

Some foreign nationals said the fact that Zuma didn't mention them but only restricted their rights to land ownership, shows that the government didn't care about them.

South African Pakistani Association chair Salman Khan said Zuma was only looking for more voters, rather than protecting foreign lives.

"He not only said, he chuckled, that foreign owners would not be allowed to own the land."

Chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum Marc Gbaffou said he was concerned that the government was encouraging discrimination against foreign nationals.

"The political orientation that they are giving is encouraging people to kill migrants."

The forum called for a more effective response to violence against foreigners in an open letter to Zuma last month.

The unrest started last month after a 14-year-old boy, accused of attempted robbery, was shot and killed, allegedly by a foreign shop owner in Doornkop.