South Africa has been hit by another outbreak of xenophobic violence in its biggest city, attracting strong criticism from other African countries.
The spate of violence that broke out in Johannesburg and spread swiftly to the central business district saw the destruction of more than 50 mainly foreign-owned shops and business premises. Properties were torched and looted in large quantities and some people were allegedly killed.
The violence echoes sporadic outbreaks of attacks mainly targeting migrants from other African countries in South Africa.
A statement released by Ghana’s High Commission in South Africa said: “The High Commissioner, George Ayisi-Boateng, had a telephone conversation with some leaders of Ghanaian associations over the weekend in response to threats on social media of a proposed attack on foreign nationals in South Africa”.
It also urged Ghanaians resident in South Africa to “communicate early signals and potential threats to their leadership as well as the Pretoria mission and the police” and further called on all Ghanaians living in and around perceived hotspots to be “on the alert, watch and monitor movements of suspicious assailants”.
African leaders from other African states have boycotted the World Economic Forum (WEF) expected to happen in South Africa later this month. Also, the chipopopolo players of Zambia have cancelled their friendly match against bafana bafana of South Africa scheduled for Saturday in response to the xenophobic attacks.
Nigerians, who are the most affected by this attack, have taken to social media to express their rage and displeasure with these happenings as they have been occurring too frequently. In retaliation, some Nigerians have decided to boycott MTN, Shoprite, DSTV and StanbicIBTC bank which are south-african owned companies.
There have also been reports of civil unrest with some locals destroying properties in some Shoprite outlets.
The Leaders of Nigeria have taken to social media to address the growing attacks as the President, Muhammadu Buhari, addressing the populace after over 24 hours following the attacks that a special envoy would be sent to South Africa to mediate and come to terms on how to end this growing epidemic.
Julius Malema, leader of Economic Freedom Fighters, EFF, has assured that South Africa is for everybody. Malema said this while condemning the renewed spate of the attacks.
In a statement he signed, Melema also dismissed claims that foreign nationals were taking job opportunities meant for South Africans.He said: “Whether you are from South Africa, whether you are from Zimbabwe, whether you are from Nigeria – this is your home. There are no jobs in South Africa because whites are refusing to invest money in South Africa; they’ve got too many savings in the bank. When it is a white person in South Africa undocumented it’s called an investor, including Indians and Chinese. Self hate must come to an end!
“Africa we are one, Nigerians are our brothers. Let’s be tolerant.”