Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has told the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town that the majority of South Africans are appalled at the violence being meted out against African migrants and refugees in the country.
Mboweni told delegates South Africa was going through a difficult time but that the authorities were dealing with the matter.
The minister was speaking during the opening plenary session of the world event on Thursday and made the remarks after delivering a speech on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa could not attend, as he was addressing protesters at Parliament.
After delivering the president’s speech, Mboweni told the audience: “We welcome all Africans who have come to this conference, we welcome all Africans who live in South Africa. We are all Africans, God Bless this nation.”
The violence of recent days affecting foreign migrants has cast a shadow over the forum, one that Mboweni went on to address during question time.
“If a South African wants to live in Abuja they should be free to do so, if a Nigerian wants to live in Johannesburg they should be free to do so – these artificial barriers and this hatred we’ve created among ourselves must really be a thing of the past.”
Mboweni told the session it was more a political issue than a policing issue.
“We have to go to our people and discuss politically that what some of them are doing is wrong. The majority of South Africans are against what’s happening. The majority of South Africans are appalled.”
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