Zimbabweans who booed President Cyril Ramaphosa during former statesman Robert Mugabe’s funeral on Sunday were expressing their anger, frustration and disappointment in South Africa, and not at him personally.

That’s what Ramaphosa told delegates on Monday when he addressed hundreds of Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) members during their 14th national congress held in Durban.

Ramaphosa began his address by reiterating the government’s stance on gender-based violence, and again condemned violent attacks which in the past weeks have claimed the lives of foreign nationals.

He said parliament will on Wednesday convene to discuss ongoing violence within the country.

When speaking about the hostile reception he received from the crowd in Harare at the weekend, he said: “They expressed their disappointment. They expressed their unhappiness. They expressed their anger against us as South Africans, and they saw me as representing all of us in South Africa. Their reaction was against us. The whole stadium, some 40,000 people, booed me.

“It was only when I said I regret what has happened in our country and apologised on behalf of all of us in South Africa, that is when they responded positively. I have apologised on your behalf, and I hope it does sink into our consciousness that the world expects us to act in a way in which we will respect the rights of people of other nations.”

Ramaphosa called on South Africans to desist from resorting to any sort of violence against foreign nationals, citing the importance other African countries play in the role of the economy.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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