NO AFRICAN COMPLAINTS ABOUT XENOPHOBIA: PITYANA

Sapa, 24 October 2000

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Pretoria had not received any formal complaints from African states -including Zimbabwe - about xenophobic attacks on their nationals in South Africa, foreign affairs director-general Sipho Pityana said on Wednesday. "We have not received any particular representation that I know of," he told reporters in Cape Town. South Africa had a clear position about how foreign nationals and immigrants, legal or otherwise, should be treated. "They have to be treated within a particular (legal) framework," Pityana said. He was reacting to the recent violence in the Zandspruit shack settlement in Honeydew, in which South Africans set fire to their Zimbabwean neighbours' homes after months of tension. It is believed the disputes are related to the murder of a South African woman, allegedly by a Zimbabwean man. Pityana said the violence was regrettable. "There is no place in South Africa for xenophobic tendencies on the part of anybody. South Africans have got to show themselves to be receptive to foreign nationals who live in South Africa." The government and civil society had an obligation to persuade South African communities to take a "different and more progressive approach".