As President Jacob Zuma and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, met for a second day of bilateral talks in Pretoria, the wife of former National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu, Elinor, said the two had failed to deal with the “shit of xenophobia” in front of them.
She said it was very probable that the issue of xenophobia was not on their agenda.
“They sit on a table and there’s lumps of shit on the table.The shit is xenophobia and its stinking there, but they will look elsewhere to put the blame yet and say kukhona okunukayo [something stinks], open the windows. They don’t deal with the shit. They talk about things which have no relevance to the people,” she said to applause.
She was speaking at a press conference on xenophobia in South Africa hosted by the African Diaspora Forum in Johannesburg.
Sisulu said xenophobia was not just a South African problem, but an issue all over the continent.
Listing a number of solutions, she called for better education on Africa in schools and society.
“People are operating on ignorance,” she said.
She also called on leaders to be careful and responsible on how they spoke about migrants in the country.
“When people beat each other up because of what you said, you say ‘oh no, I was quoted out of context’,” she said.
The conference was attended by SA Human Rights Commission, the King of the Batlokoa tribe, the Protection of Foreign Business and Citizens, the Nigerian Traders Union, human rights activists as well as foreign nationals.