Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday night urged his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, to ensure that those responsible for the wave of xenophobic violence in April against foreigners living in South Africa are brought to justice.
Nyusi made this appeal at a banquet offered in honour of Zuma, who is on a two day state visit to Mozambique.
He also urged Zuma to work towards eliminating the causes of xenophobia. During the April attacks at least three Mozambicans are known to have died.
“We praise the measures taken by your government, but the Mozambican people are awaiting, with great interest the investigations that the South African authorities are undertaking”, said Nyusi. “This is a matter which concerns Mozambicans, South Africans and all people who love peace and defend human rights”.
Despite the violent attacks, Nyusi said he was pleased at the current stage of cooperation between Mozambique and South Africa. He thought the political will exists on both sides to overcome the current challenges and explore the existing potential.
South Africa is Mozambique’s largest trading partner, and South Africa occupies third position in the list of countries whose companies are investing in Mozambique
Despite this positive balance, Nyusi believed there is room to increase investment, and encourage the business people of both countries to become more creative and innovative, taking advantage of existing business opportunities.
“Mozambique has arable land and an abundance of water and energy resources”, he said. “Our potential in hydropower, coal, natural gas and renewable energies allows us to guarantee the energy security of both countries”.
To use all these resources rationally, Mozambique and South Africa should continue to work together, “promoting pragmatic and mutually advantageous cooperation”, he added.
For his part, Zuma assured his host that the South African authorities are investigating the question of xenophobia, to ensure that there is no repeat of the anti-foreigner attacks.
An inter-ministerial committee had been set up, and was looking into the causes of the attacks. “We have also met with various stakeholders”, said Zuma, “to discuss the question and guarantee that this situation does not happen again”.
Among those contacted had been the various associations representing foreign residents in South Africa.
Zuma said he was comforted by the reactions of South Africans who had vehemently condemned the attacks, and in some cases had intervened actively to stop them.
“In general, South Africans are not xenophobic”, he said. “They know that for many decades we lived and worked with the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe against the apartheid regime”.
The April violence, Zuma insisted, could never wipe out the historic and political ties between Mozambique and South Africa. Instead, those ties should be improved by building economic cooperation.
He recognized that the partnership between the two countries has produced satisfactory results, expressed in around 60 bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding, covering a vast range of areas, including security, transport, trade, investment, energy, water, the environment, agriculture and mining.
Zuma wanted the economic relations between the two countries to be further encouraged, resulting in increases in trade and investment.