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South Africa dispatches emissaries to calm xenophobia fears

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa make a speech at the official funeral service of the later former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe on September 14, 2019 at National Sports Stadium in Harare. – South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was jeered and whistled during his speech before he apologised for recent xenophobic attacks in his home country. At least 12 people have been killed this month in a surge in violence and mob attacks against foreign-owned businesses in and around Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city. (Photo by Zinyange Auntony / AFP)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent high-ranking emissaries on a mission to reassure African countries after a wave of xenophobic attacks, the presidency said on Sunday.

At least 12 people have been killed in the surge of mob violence targeting foreign-owned businesses and homes, mainly in and around Johannesburg since the start of the month.

Hundreds of economic migrants from neighbouring Zimbabwe and Mozambique have fled to shelters and Nigeria has flown 600 of its citizens back home after they were targeted in the violence.

The mission, led by former minister Jeff Radeba, left South Africa on Saturday and will visit Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, DR Congo, and Zambia, the presidency said.

Ramaphosa was jeered at on Saturday during his speech at Zimbabwe ex-leader Robert Mugabe’s funeral in Harare before he apologised for the attacks, which have been prompted by unemployment and poverty.

“I stand before you as a fellow African to express my regret and apologise for what has happened in our country,” Ramaphosa said at the state funeral.

His comments were met with cheers and blasts of air horns from the crowd.

South Africa, the continent’s second-largest economy, is a major destination for other African migrants. But they are often targeted by some locals who blame them for a lack of jobs.


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