Press Statement: Protest against xenophobic attacks

Immigrants and South Africans protesting outside court hearing of group arrested for the xenophobic attacks

Monday 10 Oct, 2011; 9am-10am, Seshego Magistrates Court, Polokwane

“We want peace but we also want justice.”

The group on trial, which includes ANC ward councillor, Mrs Tebogo Mojapelo, will be attending their second court hearing. We recognise that the provincial ANC has taken the matter seriously and spoken out, although we had hoped that she would be suspended- until she is either cleared or found guilty.

The horrific violence that occurred led to the displacement of hundreds of Zimbabweans and to the death of at least one person. It was a sad day in which the founding values of the new South Africa were undermined and the spirit of Ubuntu was completely ignored.

We know that the people of Limpopo, Polokwane and specifically those of Seshego have in the past resisted turning on their neighbors and thus hope that the perpetrators who provoked their community are dealt with. They have tarnished the image of not just Seshego but the whole country. We trust that the law will protect those who are innocent, but in turn hold criminals who are guilty to account.

Sadly, despite the ANC stating, “the courts would decide on their councilor’s guilt or innocence”, many ANC members in ANC t-shirts protested outside in the councillors support. We believe that no ANC members should be wearing t-shirts and openly supporting her, as this creates the impression that the ANC has either decided on her innocence or the ANC is standing by her- even if found guilty. This is serious cause for concern, as she is the third case of an ANC councilor being implicated-following those in De Doorns and a case in Durban.

We believe that the ANC has done much work against xenophobia and violence against foreigners, but hope that they ensure that there are no members publicly supporting those accused of xenophobic, violence against foreigners or afrophobic attacks.

We trust that the police have put together a strong case and that the justice system will show that violence against any people will not be tolerated.

The protest is being organised by VOM and PASSOP

For more information of media enquiries please contact:(VOM) Elvis Anusa 078 604 2286 and (PASSOP) Langton Miriyoga 084026965

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