KZN lawmakers call for govt intervention amid growing xenophobic sentiment

Following an MKMVA protest in the province, Provincial Legislature Speaker Nontembeko Boyce said a high unemployment level has resulted in some citizens using foreign nationals as scapegoats for their economic woes.

FILE: KZN Speaker Nontombeko Boyce said foreign nationals are targeted by locals because of  challenges such as economic exclusion and unemployment. Picture: EWN

DURBAN – Lawmakers in KwaZulu-Natal have called on Premier Sihle Zikalala to ensure inclusive economic development in the province amid growing xenophobic sentiment.

Provincial legislature speaker Nontembeko Boyce said a high unemployment level and economic exclusion have resulted in some citizens using foreign nationals as scapegoats for their economic woes.

Boyce spoke to Eyewitness News following violent protests in which foreign-owned businesses were looted and forced to shut down this week.

A group of Umkontho weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members who were behind the violent protests have blamed foreign nationals for the country’s problems, including unemployment and proliferation of drugs.

Boyce said: “We will never condone people taking the law into their own hands. What happens with the targeting of foreign nationals without even checking whether those people are here illegally or not. Even if they are here illegally, there are law enforcement agencies that must take care of that. Our people must not, in their frustration, try to portray our country in a negative manner.”

The Speaker also called on the provincial MEC for economic development to ensure that the post-COVID-19 recovery programme benefits all residents to prevent further violence.

She said law enforcement officials must arrest those behind the looting and violence.

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