A recent visit to Zanzibar in Tanzania became an eye opener for Inkatha Freedom Party MPL, Les Govender.

Les Govender at the conference in Zanzibar

Govender had been part of the delegation team that attended the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region for its 50th Conference in Zanzibar where concerns surrounding the recurring xenophobic violence in South Africa was among the issues raised. This is when Govender and the rest of the team realised the major international implications that the violence was having, apart from the loss of lives and impact on international relations and the economy. Governder said the resurgence of violence has cast a dark cloud over SA and all South Africans no matter where they live across the world.

He said: “As a delegation we felt embarrassed by what was happening in our country. We had to meet as a delegation and formulate a response in order to calm tensions. Of serious concern is the negative sentiments that are being expressed towards all South Africans not matter where they might be living. If the spate of violence is not addressed swiftly and effectively, it can have dire consequences for South Africans travelling to African countries in the near future.”

At the conference, many countries across the African continent whose citizens have been affected by the violence expressed their concern about what is happening to their citizens. This coupled with a large number of foreign nationals leaving SA to return to their home countries, SA was not left in a good light. “The economy of Southern Africa and the continent as a whole is at risk of collapsing because of disruptions to road and rail freight. We have witnessed trucks being stopped at our borders while others are being burnt. Without wanting to sound like an alarmist, I caution South Africans wanting to travel to African countries to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety.”

The CPA Africa Regional Conference was attended by speakers, deputy speakers
and members of Parliament from 18 CPA branches across the Africa continent. The conference was officially opened by the President of Zanzibar and chairman of the Revolutionary Council, Dr Ali Mohammed Shien.