Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation George Chaponda is set to meet South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane as part of Lilongwe’s efforts to safeguard the interests of its citizens.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa said Chaponda and his counterpart will, through their meeting, indicate when the two countries’ leaders—President Peter Mutharika and President Jacob Zuma—can meet to discuss on how to end the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, including Malawians, currently happening in South Africa.
Said Nankhumwa: “The President is coming back home on Friday from the United States and meanwhile, our Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister will meet with South Africa’s Foreign Minister later this week.
“The two will set an agenda and the dates when presidents of their countries will meet to discuss further on how to bring the xenophobic attacks that have affected over 3 000 Malawians to an end.”
Mutharika, who said the xenophobic attacks on illegal immigrants in South Africa are uncalled for and should be condemned by all peace-loving people across the world, also said he will raise the issue with Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe in his capacity as chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
In his statement, Mutharika said he wanted the matter discussed at the impending Sadc Extraordinary Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe in due course.
In a statement issued on Sunday evening, Mutharika said it is his sincere hope that a profound and long-lasting solution would be found to the recurring problem in South Africa.
The President has since set up an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate the repatriation process of all Malawians currently in South Africa and willing to return home right away.
The committee comprises Chaponda as chairperson, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Atupele Muluzi as vice-chairperson and Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila as member.