Jean-Jacques Cornish

Zuma cancels Indonesia visit to deal with xenophobic violence

President Jacob Zuma’s cancelled a state visit to Indonesia to deal with the xenophobic violence sweeping South Africa and threatening its relations with the rest of the continent.

At least six people have died in attacks – mainly on African foreigners – and reminiscent of the 2008 xenophobic attacks – people are being forced to take shelter in makeshift refugee camps.

The last-minute cancellation of President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Indonesia, where he was also going to attend an Afro-Asian summit, follows another death of a foreigner in Johannesburg and scores of new arrests in South Africa’s commercial capital.

Zuma’s says there’s no justification for the xenophobic attacks mainly in Johannesburg and the eastern port city of Durban.

They have been sparked by fears that foreigners are taking the jobs from locals in a country where the economy cannot accommodate one in three work-seeking adults.

There have also been unfortunate remarks criticising foreigners by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and a member of Zuma’s cabinet Lindiwe Zulu.

Neighbouring Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique have announced plans to evacuate their citizens.

Nigeria is reportedly considering severing diplomatic ties in the mistaken belief that the attacks are aimed mainly at its nationals.
The United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees says most victims targeted are refugees and asylum seekers who are forced to leave their countries due to war and persecution.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.