South Africa president cancels trip to address anti-immigrant violence

Jacob Zuma says attacks go against beliefs of majority of citizens ahead of Durban visit

South Africa’s president cancelled a trip abroad in order to deal with a series of attacks on immigrants in the country that have killed at least six people.

President Jacob Zuma had been scheduled to leave for Indonesia to attend a meeting of African and Asian leaders, but will instead stay to campaign for a peaceful resolution to the unrest that has swept several areas of South Africa in the past week, his office said.

Mr Zuma planned to visit immigrants staying in a camp in the Chatsworth area of the coastal city of Durban, where some of the worst violence has occurred.

“These attacks go against everything we believe in. The majority of South Africans love peace and good relations with their brothers and sisters in the continent,” Mr Zuma said in a statement.

Neighbouring countries

The violence this month has prompted some African countries to make arrangements for the return of some of their citizens from South Africa.

Many immigrants are from neighbouring Zimbabwe. Its president, Robert Mugabe, said that he was glad that the South African government had denounced the violence. Mr Mugabe is currently chairman of the African Union as well as a regional group, the Southern African Development Community.

“If there is any issue arising from the influx of Africans into any country, surely that can be discussed and measures can be taken and taken amicably to deal with and address the situation,” Mr Mugabe said in remarks on the 35th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence.

PA