South Africa's defence minister says her government is powerless to stop xenophobic attacks

SOUTH Africa's defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has declared that the government is powerless to stop the ongoing xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals because they were planned by criminal gangs.


Over recent weeks, angry mobs of South African youths frustrated with their economic plight have vented their fury on African migrants in the country, burning down businesses and attacking foreign nationals. Their actions have led to widespread condemnation, with African leaders reminding South Africans who fought for their freedom from apartheid.


Under pressure, South Africa's leaders have tried to organise a series of education seminars to remind their populace that it was other Africans who fought to liberate them. However, Ms Mapisa-Nqakula said that the government cannot stop the violence because South Africa is an angry nation.


She added: “The reality is that we have an angry nation and what’s happening can never be prevented by any government. People are saying some heads of state decided not to attend the World Economic Forum but we should be talking about why this whole thing is coinciding with that.


“People are saying it is xenophobic attacks but it is not the first time, we have had them in the past. We have criminals that have read the situation and are aware that we have challenges right now.


“We have talked on the issues of high rate of unemployment, of some foreign nationals who are not conducting themselves in an appropriate manner as we would expect, those breaking the bylaws of the country and you now have criminal elements who have decided that we are going to use all of those things to find reasons to attack people. It is unfortunate and should not happen but the reality is that we need to have a serious dialogue about what is happening and we must take responsibility."