Hours after he arrived to assume office as South African High Commissioner to Uganda, Prof Lekoa Solly Mollo, apologised to Ugandans and the rest of Africa over the xenophobic attacks in his country that have left many people dead or injured.
“As a nation committed to the foregoing principles, we are saddened by the recent spate of attacks on foreigners in our country. It is with deep sense of pain and regret that we, as a peace-loving nation, humble ourselves and express our heartfelt apologies to the African continent in general, and Uganda in particular, and indeed the international community at large for these unwarranted developments,” Prof Mollo said during a cocktail reception to commemorate the 21st anniversary of freedom and democracy in South Africa.
At least seven people have been killed, 5,000 left homeless and many foreign-owned businesses looted since the attacks started about three weeks ago. Prof Mollo said South Africa is committed to being part of the African continent.
“At the core of our foreign policy is the commitment we have made to ourselves and to you that we will always prioritise Africa in all our endeavours because we are an integral part of the African continent,” he told the guests.
Before being posted to Kampala as South Africa’s envoy, Prof Mollo had lectured at Uganda’s Oliver Tambo Leadership School at Kaweweta in Nakaseke District.
“We are comforted by the fact that no Ugandans suffered at the hands of the perpetrators of the barbaric acts of violence that we all witnessed. We shall continue to treasure and value the contribution that those Ugandans who are in the country legally make towards the development of our country,” he said.
Mr James Mutende, the Sate minister for Industry and Technology who represented the Uganda government, praised South Africa’s efforts to promote peace in the region but expressed concern over the xenophobic attacks.
“The latest events in some parts of South Africa, where some immigrants of African descent were attacked and killed, are a grim reminder of the challenges still facing South Africa and the continent in which we live harmoniously as brothers and sisters, irrespective of our country,” Mr Mutende observed.
He said government is working closely with the Uganda High Commission in South Africa and the South African High Commission in Kampala over the matter.
April 27 commemorates the day when the first democratic and multiracial election was held in South Africa in 1994, which brought Nelson Mandela to power as the country’s first black president. The day heralds the personification of what transpired on that day in showcasing the liberation of South Africa and in turn its people from a historical period of colonialism and white minority domination.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor