South Africa’s Jesuit Institute condemned the latest flare-up of violence against foreign nationals and urged leaders to stop their xenophobic rhetoric.
Police arrested at least 70 people in South Africa’s commercial capital Johannesburg on 2nd September after protesters looted mostly foreign-owned shops and set fire to cars and buildings in the second outbreak of urban rioting in a week.
Earlier, hundreds of protesters in the administrative capital, Pretoria, set fire to buildings, looted shops and clashed with police, who fired rubber bullets at the crowds.
The Jesuit Institute “strongly condemns the deplorable violence, thuggery and looting,” it said in a 2nd September statement, noting that perpetrators of “these criminal acts must be held responsible.”
It urged law enforcement agencies, “often working in difficult and dangerous situations, to work tirelessly to maintain law and order.”
Some “leaders have contributed to this sad state of affairs by their irresponsible, populist remarks for political expediency,” it said. Words “have power and the ability to influence,” the institute said, noting that “xenophobic rhetoric leads to xenophobic behaviour.”
Picture: A man walks past damaged shops after overnight unrest and looting in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 3rd September 2019. “Xenophobic rhetoric leads to xenophobic behaviour,” South African Jesuits warned after the violence. (CNS photo/Marius Bosch, Reuters).