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2008-05-23: Mayor Masondo and mayoral committee members meet with members of the diplomatic corps

THE Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Amos Masondo and Members of the Mayoral Committee this morning met with members of the Diplomatic Corps and representatives of other foreign communities as part of the City's ongoing effort to find a lasting solution to the recent "xenophobic" attacks. In the meeting with members of the Diplomatic Corps, Executive Mayor Masondo was joined by the Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Councillor Duma Nkosi.

Over the past few days, the province, with specific attention to Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, has witnessed unprecedented "xenophobic attacks", which started in Alexandra Township and spilt over into Diepsloot and other areas.

Whilst the outbreaks in the main affected foreign nationals, the attacks spilt over to South African nationals and some business in areas such as Jeppe and Malvern.

The City of Johannesburg will continue working with provincial and national government as well as civil society to address this problem. We reiterate our condemnation of all criminal activities and we appeal for calm. Violent attacks, robbery and abuse of women and children can never be justified in a democratic South Africa. Let every community remain vigilant and expose those who provoke trouble to the authorities.

Concerns related to service delivery and other socio-economic issues will continue to receive the attention.

Yesterday all parties at the Budget Debate Council meeting condemned and disassociated themselves with the violent attacks and xenophobia.

The City has a policy on managing migration and seeks to ensure that all those who live in it abide by the country's laws and are treated fairly in keeping with the country's human rights guidelines.

A Migrant Desk was established in April 2007 to assist migrant communities to access essential services and information.

The City of Johannesburg and its various departments has since the outbreak of this violence been dealing with the following issues:

The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police department has been working with national and provincial government on issues of security and policing;
The City has embarked on a process to screen and register all displaced foreign nationals.
The City is providing tents, food, chemical toilets, water and health services for displaced persons and is working with other spheres of government and non-governmental organisations in providing humanitarian assistance and relief; and
We have deployed councilors and officials to work with communities to prevent further attacks.
The government, ANC and church leaders have addressed different meetings with various communities. The talks are aimed at finding a solution to the crisis. We hope that talks with all stakeholders, including Members of the Diplomatic Corps, will go a long way in assuring the international community about Government's commitment and effort to bring the situation back to normal.

"We believe that migration like urbanization cannot be stopped or halted. But the only option that is left to us is to manage this process and phenomenon" Masondo said.

It is in this regard that the Executive Mayor believes that ongoing meeting with various stakeholders should continue to lay a foundation on which we should strive to build a City that is integrated.