African Union Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, says xenophobic attacks in South Africa’s port city of Durban, which is currently on lockdown, are being perpetrated mostly by criminals.
In an interview with Studio 7 on the sidelines of an international symposium at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D-C, Dlamini-Zuma said the attacks are affecting foreigners and South Africans.
More than 17 foreigners and local people have so far been killed since last week.
Her remarks come at a time when the South African government today imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the city in an attempt to stop the violence.
There are reports that similar violent activities, in which some people have been burnt alive, are expected to spread to other cities. The government has deployed three ministers to monitor and curb the situation.
In 2008, 62 foreigners were killed in xenophobic attacks targeting foreigners accused of grabbing local jobs at the expense of South Africans.
King Zwelithini allegedly sparked the latest violence after calling for the deportation of foreigners. The King says he was misquoted though his remarks were echoed by President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward, who claimed that foreigners have a potential of overthrowing the South African government in the near future.
Malawi has already started evacuating its citizens from some politically volatile areas, including the South Western Townships or SOWETO.
Dlamini-Zuma tells Studio 7’s Ndimyake Mwakalyelye these xenophobic attacks are affecting all Africans.