South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande has lashed out at African heads of state, saying South Africa has had to cope with an influx of foreign nationals because of the instability of other countries on the continent.
“But, the fact of the matter is, we must stand up. African leaders must get their act together, such that they don’t disappoint their country and people have to leave. As SA we cannot be able to absorb the result of all the problems that are made by leaders who want to loot their country and do not care about their own.”
Nzimande was speaking at the International Convention Centre in Durban where the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) was holding its 14th national congress.
He made reference to the fact that President Cyril Ramaphosa had to apologise to Zimbabweans during the memorial for the country’s former president Robert Mugabe in Harare on Saturday.
While delivering a speech at the event Ramaphosa was booed by the 40,000-strong crowd.
Nzimande said that South Africa was not solely to blame for the rise of attacks on foreign nationals which rocked Pretoria and Johannesburg in recent weeks, leaving 12 dead and hundreds arrested.
“So, you cannot just blame SA. We are doing our best. It is time we asked those leaders in Africa, what are you doing to make your country better places to be in?”
He said the hot button issue had to be framed as a two-way process.
“We are saying, let’s not attack foreign nationals, but we are saying part of the problem is instability that leads to SA having to absorb what it is not able to absorb.”
Nzimande also called for “working class solidarity on the African continent”.
“In many sister countries, trade unions are being chased away and are regarded as enemies. So, it is important we use our advantage in SA to also support the building of progressive trade unions in other parts of the continent.”