UPDATE: An earlier version of this story mistakenly saw the reporter attributing the statement to political party Al Jama-ah, instead of the ATM. The Citizen regrets the error.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has once more weighed in on the ongoing xenophobic attacks and called on law enforcement agencies to act firmly in dealing with those who take the law into their own hands.
The president spoke for the third time on the violence following his recent public statement and a tweet he sent earlier.
His latest statement was sparked by another wave of violence that broke out in Johannesburg, leaving at least two people dead.
Ramaphosa expressed his condolences to the families of the two who were reportedly stabbed and shot during attacks in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Emerging reports were that the violence was being sponsored in order to cause a conflict between South African and fellow African countries so that the international community could impose sanctions against South Africa.
The African Transformation Movement (ATM) party said the violence was being engineered so that locals were pitted against African foreign nationals.
The party holds a strong view that this manufactured conflict is aimed at driving a wedge between South Africa and her neighbours so that South Africa is isolated by its peers on the continent.
“The isolation of South Africa engenders fertile ground for irrational economic sanctions by the west to further distract South Africa from its developmental agenda and programmes of inclusion [transformation],” ATM said in a statement.
The president called on law enforcement agencies to maintain vigilance and firmness in dealing with individuals or groups who take the law into their own hands and violate the rights of people.
He praised the police for arresting 16 people during Sunday’s violence in Johannesburg.
“Government will not allow sporadic lawlessness and violence to disrupt the safety and livelihoods of millions of South Africans and the majority of foreign nationals in our country who are law-abiding and have the right to conduct their lives and businesses in peace,” he said.
“Lawlessness, injury and death inflict a great psychological and economic cost that lasts long after victims are buried, arrests are made and streets are cleared.
“This cost holds back our country and undermines all the efforts we are making to grow a South Africa that offers opportunity to all who live in it.”
The ATM said the party viewed the perpetuation of violence against foreign nationals as “distractions” and as “part of a veiled strategy to formally recolonise South Africa”.
“Humanity must prevail and be underpinned by peace and ubuntu. All communities should be engaged with a view to finding lasting solutions,” it said.