by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THE looting of foreign property, deaths during the violence and gender-based violence in South Africa overshadowed the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa set to end on Friday.
Skirmishes unravelled under the glare of the international community as tensions in Africa’s most advanced but struggling economy boiled over.
The WEF event itself was not spared as groups of protesters enraged by xenophobic tensions and gender-based violence took their grievances to the event held in Cape Town from Tuesday.
Some leaders pulled out of the event reportedly in protest of the sporadic attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa.
At least 12 people reportedly died at the time of publication while property worth millions of dollars was looted and demolished.
Four unidentified bodies were burnt beyond recognition in Alexandra and Katlehong while bodies of a Zimbabwean national identified as Fortunate Dondai and other unidentified people were found lifeless in Coronationville, Jeppestown and Hillbrow.
In an interview with CAJ News on Thursday, Gauteng provincial police spokesman, Kay Makhubele, said they still ascertaining the identity of the corpses found in Alexandra and Katlehong.
“We will be issuing a statement shortly, but for now, I can confirm to you four bodies were burnt beyond recognition. Two were in Alexandra and another two Katlehong. We suspect more could have been burnt, but investigations are still in progress,” Makhubele told CAJ News.
Sibanengi Dube, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) spokesman, accused South African authorities of unwillingness to resolve the xenophobic violence.
“It does not look like there is political will to quell the ongoing xenophobic violence,” Dube said in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
“Any modern government would not struggle to instill order. ZEF hereby urges President Cyril Ramaphosa to take charge of the country and put to an immediate stop to all the ugly attacks,” Dube added.
Ramaphosa has denounced the attacks.
Dube said the ideals of Nelson Mandela of a Rainbow Nation had been betrayed.
“Black brothers must not be butchering and burning each other in this beautiful country of Nelson Mandela,” Dube added.
The violence triggered a diplomatic storm with rival powerhouse, Nigeria, whose nationals attacked South African businesses including MTN and Shoprite.
An envoy of President was scheduled to arrive in South Africa on Thursday to meet to probe the issue.
Retaliatory attacks were also reported in Zambia, whose football association cancelled a friendly football match with South Africa.
Another match between South Africa’s Under-23 football side and Zimbabwe was also shrouded in uncertainty ahead of the Friday fixture at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Dube discouraged other African countries not to retaliate by killing South Africans in their countries.
“A tit-for-tat response would not take us (Africa) anywhere. We should rather preach peace, togetherness and love,” Dube said.
WEF on Africa also coincided with the rape and murder of University of Cape Town student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, who was lured into a local post office.
A KwaZulu-Natal man was also arrested for the alleged murder of his four children aged between four and 16 years.
– CAJ News