Church, civil society tackling xenophobia

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) will be standing together against xenophobia when they host a public meeting in Musina on Tuesday, February 26.

The meeting in the Limpopo town on the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe follows an anti xenophobia seminar in Johannesburg last week, convened by the SACC’s recently formed Anti-Xenophobia Action South Africa (aXaSA) programme and the FBO Sector in the Gauteng Department of Community Safety.

CZC media officer Tafadzwa Maguchu said he was hopeful that last week’s seminar, which was attended by about 150 people, was the start of a church-civil society partnership aimed at overcoming the ongoing problem of xenophobia.

He said the participation of church representatives at the Musina meeting would encourage Zimbabwean and other foreign nationals there to speak more freely because churches in South Africa provide shelter and support to foreign nationals and victims of xenophobia.

Representatives of the SACC, CZC, Zimbawe Exiles Forum, Musina Legal Advice Centre and Department of Home Affairs are expected to address the meeting which is being held under the theme ‘A United SA for all: Combating Xenophobia’.

Musina, which is a gateway to SA for foreign nationals and which is also the main centre for refugee status applications has a large, shifting population of foreigners. Maguchu said he hopes many foreign nationals will participate in the meeting aimed at finding practical solutions and strategies to problems experienced by refugees in SA. He said the CZC also plans to appeal to Zimbabweans at the meeting to exercise their right to vote in the Zimbabwean Constitutional Referendum on March 16.

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