The Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Cllr Zanoxolo Wayile, has appealed for peace, calm and tolerance between the communities of Uitenhage following events over the past week, which inter alia saw the shop of a Somali burn down and the rifling of the possessions of other shop owners.
An impassioned Mayor Wayile said that while the outcome of the SAPS investigation into the root causes and unfolding of the incidents was awaited and should not be pre-empted, the Municipality wishes to reaffirm its full commitment to the upholding of the universal laws adopted by the United Nations and the rights conferred on all people in terms thereof. “This city carries the very special distinction of bearing the name of an international icon of freedom and humanity. As a Municipality and as residents, we must uphold the noble values exemplified by Nelson Mandela: freedom, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness and ubuntu.”
Mayor Wayile emphasised that the Municipality was working closely with different structures in the community to build social cohesion and break down barriers between different races, cultures and religions. “The events that have played themselves out in Uitenhage over the past week are an embarrassment to our city, our province and our country, especially at this crucial time when we are acting as hosts to the Orange AFCON teams and the spotlight of the world is turned upon us. This is a time for building trust and unity, for showing human solidarity and ubuntu, for welcoming and embracing our African brothers and sisters. The vast majority of the residents of Uitenhage and the rest of our city are peaceful and true ambassadors of goodwill. We cannot allow a tiny minority of people to undo the good that has been done and dent our image in this way. Whether in our churches, our sport clubs or our civic organisations, we should join forces in remaining ever vigilant against signs and instances of intolerance and victimisation.”
Mayor Wayile concluded: “We must support the Police in their efforts to trace the culprits of such acts, who often instigate others, followed by criminal elements, to support them in their evil intent.”