ANC BLASTS XENOPHOBIA AND RACISM IN THE WESTERN CAPE

Cape Times/Sapa, 9 April 2008

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The ANC in the Western Cape has appealed for unity against racism and xenophobia. ANC provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha said yesterday: "There are increasingly frequent and worrying indications that racism is raising its ugly head in the Western Cape. "The ANC is duty bound to make an urgent appeal to all the citizens of the province to unite against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia." Citing a case of alleged anti-Semitism in Sea Point - to be heard by the Equality Court in June - Skwatsha said anti-Semitism and xenophobia were no different to apartheid racism and should be condemned. Cases of intimidation and violence against Somali shopkeepers had also occurred with increasing regularity. "There is a general intolerance of refugees in the province, whether they are from Zimbabwe or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). "The only foreigners welcomed to the province are those who visit as tourists, with traveller's cheques. Similarly, there is a general intolerance of our compatriots from elsewhere in South Africa, who seek opportunities for themselves and their families in the province. "The only inward migrants welcomed to the province are those who can afford to buy homes in Melkbosstrand, Durbanville or Plettenberg Bay," he said. The ANC believed the Western Cape belonged to all who lived in it, but poverty, unemployment, limits to service provision and the struggle for scarce resources could be fertile ground for those who wanted to sow division in poor communities.