South African bishops from the Catholic church have demanded action from the government over recent violent attacks on African migrants.
The Catholic Bishops have also dismissed claims by the South African government that the attacks on foreigners were not xenophobic.
In a statement the Bishops said the attacks cannot be justified and must not be explained away under the guise of criminality.
“Once again we received reports of the authorities doing very little to protect the victims. We received reports of police standing by idly in Pretoria while shops were being looted and people attacked. Not a single arrest was made on that day,” the statement read.
“Once again the authorities resort to the old explanation: that this is not xenophobia, but the work of criminal elements.
“Let us be absolutely clear – this is not an attempt by concerned South Africans to rid our cities of drug dealers. And this is not the work of a few criminal elements. It is xenophobia, plain and simple. If it was about drugs, why are South African drug dealers not being targeted as well?
Are we really to believe that there are none? And why are drug addicts who rob people in our city centres to get money to buy drugs not being targeted? If it is the work of a few criminal elements, why are South African-owned businesses not being looted as well?”
“Let us take heed of this. We are facing a rising tide of hatred and intolerance, no different to the rising tide of hatred in Nazi Germany. If we do not take urgent actions to stop it, there will be nothing left.”
For months now South Africans have been attacking foreign nationals from other African countries. Most victims are Nigerians.
At least ten people have been killed following recent wave of attacks with many businesses belonging to foreigners also destroyed.