Harare– South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, today apologised for the xenophobic attacks that rocked his country during the past few weeks leaving at least twelve people dead.
He made the apology in front of several heads of states and governments, dignitaries and scores of people who had gathered at the National Sports Stadium to bid farewell to the former late Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe.
The Southern African head of state had earlier on suffered embarrassing jeers and boos from the crowd when he stepped to the podium to confer his condolences of Mugabe’s passing on.
It took a begging from the master of ceremony to get the crowd quite and calm for President Ramaphosa to resume his speech.
“In the last two weeks, we have had violence against other Africans, and I can hear you are responding to that. I stand before you as a fellow African to express my regret and apologise for what has happened in our country,” President Ramaphosa said much to the delight of the crowd who cheered in response.
He added that his government is working towards ensuring cohesion of South Africans and foreign African nationals.
Violent unrests and wanton business looting tagerting African foreign nationals and their businesses broke out in some parts of Durban, Pretoria, and Johannesburg two weeks back, leaving at least a dozen people dead to date.
President Ramaphosa posted a video on Twitter recently condemning the sporadic violence and calling for it to stop, but to no avail.
However, South African police, through their Police Minister, Bheki Cele, revealed to the South African media that, over the last few weeks, police have arrested more than 600 people on various charges related to public violence and looting, malicious damage to property, and grievous bodily harm.
In 2008, over 60 people died after similar violent xenophobic attacks ensued.
The vicious circle of xenophobic violence has now become a cause of concern in the African continent much to the dismay of Human Rights watch bodies.
Meanwhile, President Ramaphosa has been commended for apologising with many people saying his move attests to mature leadership.
Controversial local journalist, Zenzele Ndebele, said President Ramaphosa has humbled himself more by apologising “at a funeral of someone who refused to apologise for the gukurahundi genocide.”