Church leaders have noted with grief and outrage the increase in xenophobic violence, behaviors and attitudes across our Cities and Countryside. They have been listening to heart-breaking eyewitness and personal testimonies of both local and foreign national citizens in recent weeks and months about violence, property damage and intimidation which they have experienced. These include violent physical attacks, which have resulted in the deaths of at least three (3) foreign national spaza owners in eThekwini, but also the looting and damage to spaza shops and property.
This violence and intimidation, while targeted at foreign national communities has spilled over to affect so many aspects of life in this City and in the Province. Too often our poor and marginalized South African citizens have also been included in this – either as collateral damage in the unrest or through their own marginalised status being a co-target for the perpetrators. It is truly the case that violence and harm to one of us, is violence and harm to all of us. Our journeys through life are hard and painful enough without turning on each other in our moments of greatest need.