Some civil society organizations in the country have condemned the attack on African migrants including Malawians in South Africa, saying the xenophobic attacks signify economic problems Malawi and other African countries are experiencing.
Malawians and other African nationals are under attacks in South Africa, and a group calling itself “The Mamelodi Concerned Residents” marched in Pretoria on Friday to protest against African immigrants in that country.
The march was opposed by foreign nationals, and triggered a wave of looting of shops owned by foreign nationals and clashes between the two groups. There were fears that if unchecked, these xenophobic attacks could soon engulf Pretoria and spread to other parts of South Africa, as they have in the past.
Speaking during a news conference on Sunday at Alendo Hotel in Blantyre the groupings, Civil Society Forum for Democracy and Development (CFDD) and Civil Society Platform for Constructive Dialogue (CS-PCD) said the fresh wave of xenophobic attacks should act as a wake-up call for African government to improve their economies if their citizens are to be protected from such attacks.
“We condemn in strongest terms the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. But this is as a result of poor economic situations in affected countries. People especially young people are leaving their countries in search for jobs in South Africa because their countries cannot create any,” argued Oliver Nakoma who is chairperson for CS-PCD.
Nakoma called upon African leaders to build up their countries’ economies to be at par with South Africa to reduce the problem of migration.
“Our leaders should start creating jobs for the youths. African countries have resources that if are properly utilized to change economic landscape.”
In April 2015, a spate of violence directed against African immigrants claimed seven lives. That particular violence was exacerbated by the pronouncements of Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, who lamented that foreigners were making life difficult for South Africans.
The organizers of last week’s anti-immigrants march are not the only ones blaming foreign nationals for crime and stealing jobs. In December, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba made some reckless public statements blaming illegal immigrants for crime and calling on them to leave the city.
South African president Jacob Zuma also condemned the attacks and called on citizens and non-nationals to exercise restraint, and unite against crime. But President Zuma’s condemnation of violence alone will do little to address the root causes of recurring xenophobia in South Africa.
No one has been convicted over past outbreaks of xenophobic violence, including the Durban violence of April 2015 that displaced thousands of foreign nationals, and the 2008 attacks, which resulted in the deaths of more than 60 people across the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :