The Xenophobia Fallout: South Africa Does Not Belong In The African Union

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FOR SOME TIME NOW, angry South Africans have been on the rampage attacking other Africans residing in the country and blaming them for taking people’s jobs and pushing drugs.

SOUTH AFRICANS have left no stone unturned while going to great length to form mobs while embarking on looting sprees of businesses owned by foreigners in various parts of South Africa.

AT LEAST five people have been killed in recent weeks with more than 189 persons arrested.

THINGS HAVE BEEN so bad that South African truck drivers are taking matters into their own hands by attacking stores owned by foreigners and enforcing a  nationwide strike to protest against the employment of foreign drivers by blocking roads and torching foreign-driven vehicles mainly in the south-western KwaZulu-Natal province.

THE ESCALATING crisis prompted Nigeria on Wednesday to recall its Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala and pulled out of the World Economic Forum on Africa, scheduled to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from September 4 to 6.

NIGERIA’S ACTION SHOULD be supported by all the countries across Africa in sending a strong and pointed message to President Cyril Ramaphosa that the attacks against foreigners in South Africa will not be tolerated. 

RAMAPHOSA’S feeble statement this week that there is no justification for the attacks while warning that violence on foreign businesses could trigger xenophobic attacks against South Africans living abroad, is a little too late although retaliations are already in full play.

LAST THURSDAY, THE National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) shut down the Kaduna office of South African Telecommunication giant, MTN, to protest xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.

ON WEDNESDAY, MTN, withdrew the services of its staff in Abeokuta after information reached the management that its offices in nearby Lagos were being set on fire by angry Nigerians who were protesting the killing of Nigerians in South Africa. The affected staff are MTN agents working on part-time basis in its outlets across the Ogun State capital.

SEPARATELY, businesses owned by South Africans like MTN, DSTV, GOTV, Stanbic Bank have been shut down for fear of attacks from Nigerian students.

WHILE NO ONE wants to support violence and retaliation, such measures are necessary to put sense into South Africans raging against fellow Africans and going as far as setting foreigners on fire while bystanders record live feeds to social media.

WHILE WE AGREE with Rahmaposa these attacks are completely against the rule of law, the South African government needs to go a step further by enforcing a state of emergency and red alerts in areas of South Africa where foreigners are being attacked and provide security for foreigners in South Africa.

WHAT SOUTH AFRICANS have quickly forgotten is that the rest of Africa stood by them during their liberation struggle. 

IN FACT, in 1962, Liberia provided a temporary haven for a young Nelson Mandela during the height of the liberation struggle.

TODAY, SOUTH AFRICA IS TURNING a blind eye to the contributions countries across the continent made yesterday, that led to the emancipation and freedom blacks are now enjoying today.

WE EMBRACE THE DECISION of several recording artists, including Tiwa Savage who declared Wednesday that they will no longer perform in South Africa due to the barbaric butchering of foreigners. “This is SICK. For this reason, I will NOT be performing at the upcoming DSTV delicious Festival in Johannesburg on the 21st of September. My prayers are with all the victims and families affected by this,” Savage lamented.

WE URGE the government of President George Manneh Weah, the leadership and membership of the African Union and all well-meaning African to demand the withdrawal of membership of South Africa from the continental body until at such time President Ramaposa and his government can put the brakes on the pains, suffering and killings of foreigners residing in South Africa.

THE MESSAGE must be sent loud and clear that such demeaning acts of horrors should never be allowed to show its ugly face on the continent, not in in this day and age, not in 2019, when ignorance has taken over the soul of a nation that is sitting idly while its citizens embark on a lawless campaign to murder fellow Africans in cold blood.

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