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Neither in society, nor in football is there any place for racism and xenophobia.

That is the firm message of the South African professional footballers union (SAFPU) and the players of the national teams of South Africa, both male and female.

SAFPU issued an emotional statement, which was supported by all members of Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana Showing Racism the Red Card.

 

The situation in some parts of South Africa is very disturbing. The country is suffering from an outbreak of xenophobic attacks against foreigners, notably immigrants from DR Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia and Zimbabwe. According to authorities, numerous people have been killed and thousands of people have already been forced to fled their homes and/or their businesses.

In South Africa, many are struggling with poverty due to the nation's high unemployment rate. Immigrants are accused of taking jobs and opportunities away from the local people. Frustration and anger appear to have caused the violence.

SAFPU – speaking on behalf of all professional footballers in South Africa - strongly condemns the xenophobic attacks.

"This is an appeal to stop the violence against innocent people from neighboring countries who we view as our African brothers and sisters. We come from a history where innocent lives were lost and bloodshed was a result of disagreement because of cultural and ethnic differences."

"Our national football teams are appalled by these senseless attacks on our defenseless African brothers and sisters."

"It is sad for South Africa when we see our brothers and sisters from other countries being attacked, killed and injured in our communities and streets. This is not the South Africa and democracy we fought for against the perpetrators of Apartheid."

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"We are under no illusion when we say that the majority of South Africans are peace loving people and would like to live side by side with their fellow Africans."

"We off course know what the root cause of the high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequalities are. They are by no means our brothers and sisters from neither the continent nor anywhere else, but the capitalist system that doesn't ensure that those who work in the economy are able to share what they produce. The system is such that it continues to enrich the few at the expense of the majority, for us this is the root cause and it should be seen as such."

"It is time that as citizens of the world in particular Africans we stand together and fight all these challenges that have resulted in us fighting against each other, in us leaving our countries for better lives elsewhere. It is time that we fight for the Africa we all want and the only way is to choose the leadership that we think will give us the Africa we all want. Let us stand together in unison and ensure that we hold our leaders to account and ensure that peoples' lives and wellbeing are at the centre."

"Let us fight together against the evils of social destruction. Away with hatred and fear. Down with racism and xenophobia. We are one."

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Click here for the full SAFPU statement

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