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Salvation Army calls for end to violence against foreigners

Johannesburg, Friday 8 April 2022

The Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army in Southern Africa, Commissioner Torben Eliasen has called for an end to violence against foreigners, saying that history has shown that such actions were pointless, brutal and primitive.

He was speaking in response to reports of the murder of a Zimbabwean in Diepsloot, north west of Johannesburg.

Commission Eliasen said: “Two years since the first hard lockdown in South Africa, there has been much suffering. There has also been a terrible toll on humankind in the number of deaths as a result of Covid-19. Our nation has unquestionably suffered.

“And yet, even as we come out of the official state of disaster imposed because of the pandemic, South Africa reels under the realisation that peace, goodwill and reconciliation of people born in the image of God is not with us.

“Right in our midst, in Diepsloot in the north west of Johannesburg, a 43-year old Zimbabwean man was brutally tortured, beaten with hammers and killed. Surely this is not the rainbow nation that we all readily speak of when it suits us?

“There are many allegations of the involvement of foreigners as the root of problems of crime and unemployment. It is simply nonsensical to characterise the behaviours of communities by blaming foreigners. In the days of apartheid, many South Africans found refuge and nurturing as they fled the violence of the apartheid system. In neighbouring countries and others further afield, South Africans were warmly welcomed, in spite of being foreigners.

“The violent and coercive intimidation by some factions in the community is the antithesis of the principles of reconciliation laid down by Nelson Mandela as guiding lodestars for South Africa in 1994. It is tragic that people are undoing these principles as they advance their own narrow political interests.

“As Christians, we are appalled by this violence against foreigners. We recall how Jesus Christ was attacked by a mob and mercilessly scourged and crucified on what we now call Good Friday. It is a timely reminder in our Christian calendar to recall that we should not emulate the mobs who executed Jesus, an innocent man.

“We call for all those perpetuating and escalating this violence to abandon this course of action which through history has been shown to be pointless, brutal and primitive,” he said.


The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by love for God, and its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs without discrimination.

The Southern Africa Territory of The Salvation Army encompasses four countries – South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland – and the island of St Helena. Its officers, soldiers and full-time employees provide their spiritual and community services through approximately 230 corps (churches), societies and outposts, as well as through schools, hospitals, institutions for children, street children, the elderly, men and abused women, and daycare, goodwill, rehabilitation and social centres.


Captain Velani Buthelezi, Public Relations Secretary
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Ruth Coggin, Quo Vadis Communications
Tel: 087-286-6444
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