CAPE TOWN, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday called for national healing following xenophobic violence that had gripped parts of the country recently.
South Africans should step forward to become part of national healing after the country has confronted xenophobic violence over the past few weeks, Ramaphosa said at an event in Upington, Northern Cape Province to mark the national Heritage Day which celebrates the cultural wealth of the nation.
He was referring to a new spate of xenophobic violence in which at least 12 people -- foreigners and South Africans -- were killed.
These acts of violence, frustration and intolerance "have damaged our sense of solidarity and social cohesion," the president said.
"Let us use these events to affirm that amid the great diversity of our society, we are united by the values of dignity, respect and equality," he said.
"There is nothing in any of our traditions and cultures that supports acts of violence against others, that allows the abuse of women and children, or that promotes racism, tribalism and other forms of intolerence," said Ramaphosa.
Regardless of their circumstances, every South African wants the same thing -- a better life for themselves and their families and to live in peace and coexistence with others, Ramaphosa said.
"As we celebrate our heritage, let us also celebrate our resilience," he said.
South Africa hosts about 240,000 foreigners, including refugees and asylum seekers, according to the United Nationals High Commissioner for Refugees.
Xenophobic violence, fueled by high unemployment and social injustice, has become more frequent in South Africa over the past recent years.