South Africa’s National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has ordered ANC leaders to return the favour other African countries offered, when its members were in exile during apartheid, and stop xenophobic attacks.
Mbete appealed to the ruling party to take the lead and stop sitting back and watching attacks on foreign nationals.
Speaking at the Limpopo Provincial General Council in Polokwane over the weekend, she told delegates that xenophobic attacks in South Africa has put the ANC “in a difficult position on the continent”.
She said during the first xenophobic attacks, ANC leaders had faced difficult questions, not only from the opposition, but from the rest of the continent as well.
“Many African leaders still regard the ANC as their party, and also found their political parties after being inspired by the ANC agenda at the time,” she said.
“So let us be willing today, when we are busy assaulting foreigners we need to remember that the ANC belongs to the rest of Africa, and that is why the rest of Africa hosted the ANC when it needed Africa.
“They looked after us, so sometimes when you watch the things we do to Africans from the rest of the continent it is very… very embarrassing.”
Mbete said alliance leaders should unite and called for an end to “power bickering”.
“You cannot unite other people unless you are united, Cosatu is disintegrating right before us. It’s sad, comrades,” she said.
South Africa has in the past been seen as model for democracy for the African continent, but its reputation has been tarnished by waves of xenophobic attacks throughout the country.