Media slated for labelling April attacks as 'xenophobia'

The ad hoc committee on the April attacks has slammed the media for labelling the violence as xenophobia.

Police trying to disperse a large crowd of around 2,000 people following a standoff between foreign shop owners & locals in Durban on 14 April 2015. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating violence between foreign nationals and locals in April has slated the media for labelling it as xenophobia.

The committee is spending the day in Alexandra, speaking to police and traditional leaders, to determine the root problem and decide on permanent interventions.

Co-Chair Ruth Bengu said it's not only wrong but extremely irresponsible of the media to incorrectly label the attacks on foreign nationals in April as xenophobic.

"Media must assist us and be part of building the country and define the problem as it is, not to sugar coat it."

WATCH: Thousands of foreign nationals engaged in running battles with police in Mahatma Gandhi Road in the Durban's CBD. Police used teargas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse them.

Traditional leaders attending the meeting asked the media to publicly apologise, as they believe it was only youngsters looking for trouble.

The committee said if the media continues to distort the truth, labelling the attacks as xenophobia, they will never be able to resolve the real underlying problem.