September 2, 2019, South Africa records another spate of xenophobic violence by South Africans on foreigners in the commercial capital, Johannesburg. Several persons have been arrested as a result of the violence.
Violence against African nationals in South Africa was one of the major topical issues during this year’s elections. Videos have been circulating on various Medias affirming African immigrants’ shops being looted and set on fire with so many people across the continent condemning the attacks.
In the wake of all this, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has condemned the violence in the country saying it is totally unacceptable. He said that “there can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries.”
In retaliation, Nigerian youth at home took to the street to cry the killing of their fellow brothers and sisters in South Africa by burning businesses owned by South Africans.
International relations after xenophobic attack
Close to 70% of immigrants in South Africa are from neighboring Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho. 30% from eSwatini formally called Swaziland, Malawi, Nigeria, Cameroon, UK and other countries.
Nigerian’s foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama expressed his frustration as the attack also targeted Nigerians living in South Africa. He took to his tweeter page saying: “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.” Without getting into details, Onyeama said that Abuja would take “definitive measures.”
According to Mayowa Adebola, from Lagos he did not believe the South Africans could do this to them after all the help they received from Nigeria during the apartheid era. In his word “I remember reading Nelson Mandela‘s book, Long Walk to Freedom. He praised Nigeria during the apartheid, how Nigeria stood by as a big brother,”
On August 26th 2019, Zambian truck drivers were being harassed and they were advised them to stay off the road. According to Zimbabwe’s Government Spokesperson Nick Mangwana “he expected the South African government to protect its immigrants.” To his own citizens in South Africa he said: “If you are going into a place where there are criminals you have to be cautious, sensible and responsible.”
To the South African government the accident is not as result of xenophobia but base on criminality. Thulas Nxesi, Minister of Employment and Labor in order to handle the issue has invited countries affected to join South Africa in resolving the matter. In an interview he said “It’s not a simple matter. It’s a very complex matter. And we hope that as we are interacting with our counterparts, we are going to be able to find a solution.”