16 April 2015
TEASA is greatly saddened that yet again the scourge of xenophobia is rearing its head in South Africa. Yet again it appears to catch the country by surprise, with security agencies coming to the scene after the crimes have been committed.
While we applaud the decisive response by government to the crimes committed, we recognise that ultimately, stopping the xenophia is a matter for all South Africans. As it was in the holocaust, the pain of the Jews was not only that the Nazi regime carried out acts of terror against innocent people. It was also that the rest of otherwise friendly Germans looked the other way, preferring to carry on with their lives rather than get involved. When this happens, it is not only the humanity of perpetrators that is suspect. All of us are indicted by the brutality meted out to other human beings in our own neighbourhoods.
As Churches, we confess our paralysis and lack of decisive and rapid response to this grave sin of committed by some in our communities against brothers and sisters from elsewhere on the continent. As TEASA we call upon all member churches to stand as witnesses for peace and reconciliation in the community. To extend a ring of protection around the foreign nationals in their midst.
Holy Scripture teaches us that: “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were (once) foreigners….. “Lev 19:34. Further, its says: “Love does no harm to a neighbour” Rom 13:10. We believe God’s blessing follows those nations that uphold God’s word in the communal and public life.
While the blood of African people is spilt on our soil, this is no time to play politics or seek to explain the criminality involved. This violence must end. Everything must be done to stem the tide of hatred and violence against the other.
Further, TEASA calls upon government and policy makers to attend to the root causes of the resurgence of xenophobia. Unacceptable levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality leaves communities vulnerable to what they see as unfair competition for such meagre resources as exist. With the South Africa’s Gini coefficient among the highest in the world, there must be urgency to the task of addressing poverty.
We call upon all South Africans to recover the dream of the founding mothers and fathers of our nation, which is enshrined in our constitution. A dream to be a non-racial community of brothers and sisters who hold on to the values of equality, human dignity and international solidarity.
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