/ 25 May 2008

UDM: Reveal ‘third force’ information

The government should appoint a commission of inquiry to probe the xenophobic attacks that have claimed at least 50 lives and left thousands of people homeless, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) said on Sunday.

UDM president Bantu Holomisa said there was a need for a transparent inquiry that would analyse the attacks and remove suspicions that they were ”deliberate and orchestrated”.

”The key here would be to remove any kind of suspicion that this thing was unleashed deliberately and orchestrated by whoever. Ministers are already telling us there is a third force. Let them bring that evidence to the commission.”

Holomisa said there was a need for the inquiry to visit countries where people had been repatriated to, and gather evidence and testimonies from victims of the attacks.

Holomisa was addressing the Twelve Apostles Church in Bloemfontein to mark Africa Day.

Holomisa called on churches to constantly monitor political leaders and scrutinise the work they were doing.

He said religious leaders played a crucial role in South Africa before 1994, but were shunned by politicians after the elections.

”Immediately after that watershed moment in our history, the political leaders immediately shunned the religious leaders and disowned their role, under the pretext that they had been elected democratically to lead the country,” Holomisa said.

He reiterated his call for a national convention that would allow all key players to discuss national issues.

He said the convention should look at social cohesion, economic policies, poverty and crime.

ANC leaders to visit hots spots

Meanwhile, ANC president Jacob Zuma and senior party leaders will hold programmes of engagement with communities in xenophobic hots pots across Gauteng on Sunday, the party said in a statement.

Spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said the party’s national executive committee (NEC), which met on Friday and Saturday, agreed on a programme of engagement to stem the tide of violence and restore stability in affected communities.

The programme would involve all levels of the ANC in a decisive and concerted campaign to mobilise across society to address this crisis, Rikhotso said. – Sapa