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Lindiwe Sisulu criticises attacks on foreign nationals in Durban

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says fellow Africans should be welcomed in the country as South African citizens and businesses are well received in other countries within the continent.

FILE: Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: @DIRCO_ZA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has called for an urgent meeting with African ambassadors to discuss the current spate of violence against foreign nationals.

This week has seen foreign nationals targeted in sporadic outbreaks of violence in the Sydenham and Overport areas in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Sisulu says fellow Africans should be welcomed in the country as South African citizens and businesses are well received in other countries within the continent.

The meeting will focus on how ambassadors and government can work with communities to support integration.

At the same time, the government has condemned attacks against immigrants after a spate of assaults this week that raised fears of a resurgence of deadly xenophobic attacks.

It called on community leaders to stop and discourage attacks on migrants reported in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Police in the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal confirmed incidents of attacks by dozens of people which started on Sunday night targeting foreign-owned shops.

Attacks were also reported over the next two days and by Tuesday, police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said, a group of protesters “were forcing the foreign nationals out of their homes. No one was injured or assaulted”.

He told AFP that police intervened, but “no serious incidents were reported”.

By Wednesday around 300 foreign nationals had sought refuge at a mosque in Durban, according to an AFP photographer.