Xenophobic Attacks Soar In South Africa

Several persons have been arrested in the South Africa’s city of Johannesburg after protesters looted shops and set buildings and vehicles on fire today, September 2, 2019.

Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades in an attempt to quell the unrest.

Most of the targeted shops, a source in South Africa said, are owned by foreign nationals.

“Business of black foreigners were destroyed as usual,” a source in South Africa told Mimi Mefo Info.

The torched cars belong to foreigners in South Africa

He further recounted how the violence erupted.

“A taxi driver was shot allegedly by a Nigerian and the Taxi Drivers’ Association decided to take to the streets. This triggered xenophobic activities”.

Reacting to the uproar, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama wrote on Twitter:

“Received sickening and depressing news of continued burning and looting of Nigerian shops and premises in South Africa by mindless criminals with ineffective police protection”.
“Enough is enough. We will take definitive measures,” he said.

Victims say South African government is not making frantic efforts to curb zenophobia. “It’s so hectic because their government never addresses the situation. We are almost on our own,” he said on condition of anonymity.

In April 2019 in the wake of increasing zenophobia attacks on foreigners in South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa’s government launched a national action plan to combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia.

But in South Africa where the immigrant community has increased from 2 million people to 4 million people by 2017, the rate of xenophobia has more than doubled.

62% of South Africans according to a survey, view immigrants as a burden on society by taking jobs and social benefits. Also, 61% of South Africans thought that immigrants were more responsible for crime than other groups.

They have urged policy makers to ensure that all foreigners are documented to avoid crime. But immigration experts say, the government in South Africa has made very “minimal investment” to facilitate the process.

Some however argue that even those legally residing in South Africa are being attacked and their businesses.

By: Mimi Mefo
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