Hundreds of Malawians on Tuesday held street demonstration in the capital, Lilongwe, against the on-going anti-immigrant attacks in South Africa and protested outside the South Africa High Commission .
The emotional but peaceful protestors led by activists carried placards and chanting songs against President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and KwaZulu Natal’s King Zwelithini.
The demonstrators -most of them wearing black as a symbol of mourning – handed over a petition to High Commissioner Cassandra Mbuyane-Mokone who thanked them for holding a peaceful protests.
“We, the people of Malawi, stand in solidarity with all Africans to condemn in the strongest terms the current resurgence of xenophobia in the Republic of South Africa,” read a petition.
They demanded President Zuma to appologise within 48 hours and hold accountable King Zwelithini and others or risk a boycott of South Africa goods.
“We are extremely disgusted by the reckless xenophobic utterances by senior political figures such as Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu and President Zuma’s son Edward that continue to incite violence against foreign nationals,” reads the petition.
It adds: “The South African Human Rights Commission investigates xenophobia comments reportedly made by the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, Edward Zuma and Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu and take appropriate action.”
The petitioners also demand the South African government to be “be proactive and protect the rights of all people living in South Africa in line with international legal obligations” and “thoroughly investigate the xenophobic attacks and hold all those responsible accountable.”
Activist Billy Mayaya who led the protests said they have also demanded compensation for the victims of xenophobia.
“”We call upon the Government of South Africa to urgently remove the structural inequalities that are rooted in apartheid and white privilege. We believe these are the main causes of worsening economic inequality and marginalisation. These inequities were not instituted by migrants, and will not automatically disappear if the migrant population decreases. The most sustainable way to address the economic frustrations felt by many South Africans is to adopt policies that reduce the inequalities, and create programmes that empower ordinary South Africans,” reads the petition.
The petition has been signed by Billy Mayaya, a human rights defender, Gift Trapence who is executive director of Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), Robert Mkwezalamba from Human Rights Consultative Committee, Lucky Mbewe the executive director of Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (YECE) and Timothy Mtambo who is executive director for Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR). There were also other human rights activists such as Martha Kwataine and Hebrews Misomali.
The activists also stated in the petition that Malawians will boycott South African business and products in the country, if their concerns are addressedwithin 48 hours.
Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa said nearly 400 Malawians arrived home on Monday, traveling overnight by bus from South Africa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :