There is no end in sight to South Africa’s xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans

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Xenophobia has resurfaced in South Africa with fellow African nationals being subjected to different forms of violence for allegedly causing the high unemployment rate in the country.

South Africans recently attacked foreigners for the umpteenth time killing three in Durban amid protests targeting foreign-owned shops. The protesters, about 100, looted and burned buildings last week forcing about 50 people to seek shelter at a police station and in a mosque.

According to the BBC, one woman died when she fell through a roof while she was running away from protesters and the other two people died from gunshot wounds allegedly inflicted by a shopkeeper.

They are a few of many victims of xenophobia against black Africans which has plagued the country since the end of the racist apartheid era that saw white South Africans perpetrate racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against black people.

The immigrants normally targeted are from Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and other neighbouring countries who are accused of taking all the jobs and engaging in criminal activities, such as drug trafficking and theft.

Some South Africans including high-profile members of the government have justified taking measures against the growing number of foreigners who they believe would soon take over the country if nothing is done.

“The whole of South Africa could be 80% dominated by foreign nationals and the future president of South Africa could be a foreign national… How can a city in South Africa be 80% foreign nationals? That is dangerous,” said the Deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Michael Mkongi in 2017.

He made the statement during a visit to a local police station where he accused foreign nationals in Hillbrow of economic sabotage. He also accused them of being behind the high crime rate, using unlicensed firearms, hijacking buildings and illegal trade.

“South Africans have surrendered their own city to the foreigners… We fought for this country, not only for us but for generations of South Africans to live in harmony in a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa,” he added.

However, immigrants in South Africa are actively contributing to the growth of the South African economy by engaging in and creating businesses while paying value-added tax which is generating revenue for the country.

This was contained in a damning report released in 2017 by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR), following weeks of xenophobic attacks that year.

The current violence has thrown Africa into a delirium as the continent is fostering integration and unity. South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa called on South Africans to embrace tolerance and oust xenophobia because it has no place among South Africans.

“These recent attacks are wrong, they violate everything that our people fought for over many decades. As for me, I condemn them in the strongest terms, because this is not us,” he said on Saturday.

“They stood side by side with us as we were engaged in struggle. They supported us willingly in a comradely manner, supported us because they felt that racism and apartheid was an abomination against humanity,” he reminded South Africans of efforts of other African nations to ensure the liberation of the country from the apartheid regime.

The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema has also condemned the attacks calling on South Africans to know their history and protect fellow Africans.

“These borders here were never designed by Africans. They were imposed on us by colonialists… Women are abused by their immediate and well-known people to them. Women are not abused by Nigerians,” he said at a recent campaign rally in the Eastern Cape.

“The whole of Africa was there for us when we were in difficult times. They gave us guns, they gave us their houses. Know your history… We are for Africa, Africa is not a continent… We are for Africans. African unity is what will make us to be proud. Stop the self-hate,” he added.

South Africa’s minister of international relations and co-operation, Lindiwe Sisulu, urged the police to take action against people attacking foreigners.

“All criminal activities and looting of properties of foreign nationals will not be tolerated‚ and the police and other law-enforcement agencies must act without fear or favour,” she said in a statement.

The attacks have triggered varied reactions from social media users. Many people have condemned it while others seem to not be against the violence.

Some have called for sanctions against South Africa by asking governments of other African countries to close down South African embassies in their respective countries.

Xenophobic attacks in South Africa are not new. As far back as 1994, about 4 years after South Africa gained independence from the apartheid regime with the assistance of other African countries, foreign nationals in provinces such as Gauteng, Western Cape, Limpopo, Kwazulu Natal and the Free State experienced xenophobic attacks.

In December 1994 and January 1995, armed youth from Alexandria destroyed the homes and businesses of foreigners in Gauteng Province and also marched these foreigners to the police station demanding that they are forcibly removed from South Africa. They claimed the foreigners were the cause of the rise in crime, unemployment and the spread of AIDS.

There was a resurgence in the 2000s as more killing of foreigners were recorded. In 2000, 7 Xenophobic killings were reported. The victims included a Kenyan, two Nigerians and two Angolans.

Similar attacks re-emerged in 2008, which is said to be the most violent of all attacks. It recorded 56 deaths and 342 shops were looted and 213 were burnt down.

Will these senseless attacks ever end? What is the state doing wrong to avert this crime against fellow African nationals whose presence in the country epitomizes the dream of a united Africa?

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2 thoughts on “There is no end in sight to South Africa’s xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans

  1. XENOPHOBIA IN SOUTH AFRICA, THE WORK OF CRIMINAL FEW

    Those you see in the xenophobic attack and looting are in the minority. That is an act of criminality and thuggery. But if we in the majority keep mute about these crimes and allow these minority few to keep throwing heavy dirt on SA then we have forgotten how small the apartheid government was in size but deadly in action.

    I am even more devastated by those who supposedly have strong following and yet play “I care less”. Those who carry themselves as motivational speakers, influencers, and leadership practitioners but yet are quiet about these attacks that is running South Africa in the mud, what is their motivation? You either speak up or be seen as a part of the attacks. Does silence mean consent?

    Those who are pushing ” junk” news about some nationals upon all your education, keep sailing till it is your turn elsewhere some day.

    Some few people are busy brainwashing and instilling crime in the hearts of our little minds and hearts, and you pretend with the greeting “leadership”.

    Go down there and hear how they see the world especially other African nationals.

    I brag to my friends that SA is my second home, and it is all due to how I am made to feel at home whenever I visit. I have made efforts to comb areas like Yeoville, Berea, K-LA-K, etc I cannot keep mute over this shame few are bent on bringing unto SA.

    SA is made up of 2.2 million plus immigrants (Source Loren Landau of University of the Witwatersrand) meaning about 0.5% of an entire 57 .7 Million population

    This population does not account for even 1% of SA worth, but everyone knows the fact of which minority (8%) of the SA population who owns 85% plus of the national assets. So how can 2.2 million (0.5%) people be the reasons for no jobs crime etc. Let us not wear crime nationality, they hide behind it.

    According to ” theSouthafrican.com” there about 4.3 million South Africans living in different countries and this number is far above of those immigrants living in SA.

    In 2017, tourism contributed to R136.1billion which is 2.9% of GDP, when tourism’s indirect and induced benefits across a very broad value chain are
    factored in, the total contribution amounts to R412,5 billion, or 8.9% of our GDP and Tourism directly and indirectly supported about 1,5 million jobs in 2017, 9.5% of total
    employment. (source SA annual tourism report 2017/18)
    The above statistics isn’t known to these thugs and criminals on rampage and how their xenophobia and shop looting is ripping the nation off billions of rands. Who will engage these our families in fruitful dialogue so they can understand the facts, figures, myths, and greed of just a few lazy butts.

    There are over 20 solid South African brands doing businesses across Africa and repatriating their revenues back to SA economy. So it will be very myopic to those few criminals to even think some “foreign nationals” are taking their jobs, whiles per statistics these groups are negligible.

    It is said that, minority evil doers are not the ones who break a nation, but the majority who are silent and watch on for these minority evil doers to have a field day.

    There is high youth unemployment but is this the way to find jobs, sadly these attacks and looting aren’t by the youth alone.

    Equally there are some few fellow Africans resident in SA who are into illegitimate business and crime, the law should be allowed to deal with them, than boxing everyone up. Some of these criminals have SA nationals as partners which makes crime not a particular nationality tag. Let us all play by the rules of engagement, we cannot be seen fighting among ourselves.

    Let peace reign in South Africa
    Let’s rekindle the spirit of Ubuntu
    Amandla !!!
    Viva South Africa!!!
    Viva Africa

    Scofray Nana Yaw Yeboah
    Transformational Coach
    +233243085832
    scofray@gmail.com

  2. Probably on second thoughts, it would have been better if apartheid had gone on in that place infested with wicked people. Always killing their fellow black brothers. Wicked people. I remember back in those days when African countries rallied behind South Africa so that they too should be free and this is how they pay Africa back. South Africa your economy will fail one of these days and then you will wallow in poverty. The leaders, in the past, had just been looking on while their citizens kill other Africans. They are reacting now because they have been compelled to. Nigeria has started retaliating, other nations will follow suit. And the continent will blow up.

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