HARARE - Heads of state from the Southern African Development Community are in Zimbabwe for talks that follow the recent wave of xenophobic violence against foreign nationals in South Africa.
The issue of the immigrant attacks in South Africa is not on the meeting's official agenda, but South African President Jacob Zuma has said he wants the issue discussed.
“It is our firm belief that efforts of the African Union to promote peace, stability and democracy in every corner of the continent will in the long run reduce the need for people to migrate toward South Africa or toward the south," said Zuma. "The promoting regional integration and other economic interventions are designed to improve the economic situation in sister countries. The end result will be that the brothers and sisters will no longer need to leave their countries in search of a better life. We are preparing a report to Southern Africa Development Community, the African Union and the United Nations on the matter.”
Zuma, who made the comments during his country's recent Freedom Day commemorations, will join about 10 SADC leaders Wednesday in Harare. They are scheduled to discuss how the SADC region can industrialize so the subcontinent can prosper. Already, Malawian leader Peter Mutharika has indicated he wants the SADC to address the issue of xenophobia.
The outgoing government of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has recalled the acting Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, to protest how Pretoria handled the attacks that claimed seven lives.
The African Union has said it welcomes efforts by South Africa to curb the violence, but more must be done to protect African and other foreign migrants.