Statement between South African Tourism and South African Airways on the recent xenophobic attacks in parts of South Africa

20 April 2015

South African Tourism and South African Airways condemn the appalling xenophobic attacks taking place in Durban and various locations in our country.
INDABA 2015 has responded to the great demand for the Business Buyers Lounge

The safety and security of tourists and foreign nationals is of utmost importance to us as Team South Africa engaged in marketing our country as a tourism destination, and creating great experiences for our guests. The unfortunate events taking place to fellow African brothers and sisters has dented the brand image of our country and cast a doubt on South Africa as a warm and welcoming destination.

As the team responsible for the first contact visitors have with our country, it is with embarrassment and shame that we come before the world and especially fellow Africans to apologise for these senseless attacks.

Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, Mr Thulani Nzima comments: “The majority of us South Africans, perceive and carry ourselves as Africans and believe what we have witnessed in some parts of our country goes against the grain of who we are as a people, our constitution, and the principles of Ubuntu that we so dearly adhere to.

I personally extend my sincerest apologies to our fellow Africans. As my colleagues and I prepare for our Pan-African Trade Show, INDABA, from 9 to 11 May 2015, in the city of Durban, we wish to reassure all INDABA delegates and foreign nationals coming into South Africa that our country is safe for you to visit. We do not take for granted the support we have enjoyed over the years from our brothers and sisters throughout the continent in contributing to the growth of tourism into our country. We are also appreciative of the backing of our counterparts on the continent who have ensured that our flagship Trade Shows, INDABA and Meetings Africa, have grown in stature in the years they have been in existence.”

Chairperson of South African Airways, Ms Dudu Myeni comments: “It is the duty of every South African to live according to the principles that our nation has been built on; tolerance, acceptance and respect. These norms have not been evident in the Xenophobic violence that has plagued our cities over the past fortnight, and such negative behaviour should not be tolerated. The vast majority of citizens continue to subscribe to the South African ideal, realizing that in a global village no country functions in isolation. We need one another and, in particular, the people of Africa should stand together and support one another as the continent continues to gear up for sustained growth. SAA supports a peaceful, economic and socially successful continent as a business that, like every South African, remains inspired by our ideals.”

We are heartened and uplifted that this matter is being managed at the highest level of the land. President Jacob Zuma has assigned the South African Ministers of Home Affairs, Police, State Security to work with provinces affected to arrest the violence. Task teams have been established to coordinate the response.

Additional law enforcement officers have been mobilised from around the country and deployed to the affected areas to enforce the law and prevent further attacks. Thus far, at least 48 suspects have been apprehended since the weekend of April 11 and 12, 2015. All district disaster management centres have been placed on high-alert and a 24-hour call centre has been established. Shelters have been set-up to accommodate displaced foreign nationals and basic amenities such as water, sanitation, and healthcare are being provided.

Government is working closely with the UNHCR, UNICEF as well as non-governmental organisations to provide food, psycho-social and other support to those affected. The process of reintegrating those who were displaced back into their communities has begun. Community engagements are being conducted through the Communities in Dialogue programme, Community Safety Forums, Ward Committees, and through Community Development Workers, amongst others.

The South African Constitution protects the rights of all people living within the country, South Africans and foreigners alike and everything is being done within the law to ensure safety of all citizens and foreign nationals irrespective of their status.

We as South African Tourism and South African Airways would like to extend our sincerest apologies to the people of the continent during this time. We would like to assure our brothers and sisters that South Africa remains a welcoming destination filled with warm people.

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