Mbeki says attacks on foreign nationals are opportunistic

The new Unisa chancellor has questioned why locals specifically attack foreign nationals who own businesses.

Foreign nationals in Pretoria CBD fix and weld their gate, saying they will hide inside to protect their shops and stock after a day of protests. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN.

PRETORIA - University of South Africa (Unisa) Chancellor and former president Thabo Mbeki has questioned why attacks on migrants manifest in the looting of shops, suggesting that the attacks are opportunistic.

Mbeki was inaugurated as the university's chancellor on Monday at Unisa's Pretoria Campus, where he expressed his concerns about the recent attacks on foreign nationals.

“It’s not as though it’s a Somali national who works at a factory or attends university who gets attacked.”

Mbeki says the phenomenon of attacks on migrants needs to be understood.

He has asked why locals specifically attack foreign nationals who own businesses.

“Which suggest that the impulse to attack people is not necessary hate-driven but an opportunity to go and steal.”

He says while the country faces many socio-economic challenges such as poverty and unemployment, none of them will be solved by attacking migrants.

_WATCH: Violence mars xenophobic march in Pretoria _

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)