South Africa has around 450,000 Portuguese and Lusodescendants, and Portugal's foreign minister admitted that the consular services are focused on supporting the community.
The Portuguese foreign minister said on Wednesday that the diplomatic services in South Africa are focused on supporting the Portuguese and again urged caution for the community at a time when there are several violent demonstrations.
“I hope that the events that are afflicting South Africa today will end as soon as possible,” Augusto Santos Silva told Lusa, hoping that normality would return.
On the country’s streets, thousands of South Africans have been looting shops, attacking public facilities and vandalising the streets, protesting against the economic crisis and demanding the release of former President Jacob Zuma, who was arrested last week for contempt of an order of the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest judicial body.
“I have taken very good note of the calls for calm and respect for the decisions of South African courts that President [Ramaphosa] has made and has insistently made,” Santos Silva said.
South Africa has around 450,000 Portuguese and Lusodescendants, and Santos Silva admitted that the consular services are focused on supporting the community.
“As everyone will understand, my priority, my concern, is with the situation of the Portuguese,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we already have to lament damages to property, […] but fortunately there is no news that the physical safety of the Portuguese had been in danger,” the ruler added.
The minister reaffirmed the appeals made by the Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities, Berta Nunes, calling for “the utmost caution and prudence” by compatriots at a time of social crisis in the country.
“Our embassy and all our consulates in South Africa are mobilised to closely monitor the situation and the situation of our compatriots and provide them with all the support that is necessary and possible,” Santos Silva said.
At least 72 people have died, and around 2,400 have been arrested in violent riots, looting and intimidation, which continue for the sixth consecutive day in South Africa, after the arrest of the former head of state and former leader of the African National Congress (ANC), Jacob Zuma, last Wednesday night, the South African police disclosed.