South Africa erupts into chaos as xenophobia mushrooms throughout the country. President Jacob Zuma calls the attacks Afriphobia as the violence is mainly black on black. South African locals are not happy with foreigners from neighboring countries, as well as the increasing lack of government response to the situation. The flourishing small businesses set up by foreigners in and around townships in South Africa annoy the locals who are unemployed and struggling to survive. The locals are annoyed that foreigners have taken away jobs; and increasing poverty among the people have been a leading cause of violence. The locals want the foreigners to leave.
Another cause of the violence is the concept that immigrants contribute to the uncontrollable drug problem in the country. The country is on fire, and attacks seem to spring up in different places and the people have spoken and are fed up with foreigners exploiting local opportunities.
The recent xenophobia attacks started in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa and soon spread to the other provinces. Police patrol the streets, shooting rubber bullets at perpetrators in the hope of quelling the attacks. The attackers throw stones and glass at foreigners and police. Several people have died, and the police have confirmed that arrests have been made. This has not helped or curbed the attacks. The police, it would seem, are unable to cope with the current violence; and fears that the military might be called upon are concerning. Refugee camps have been set up in an attempt to protect foreigners, and both Malawi and Somalia have started a process to repatriate the people affected by the attacks. Many foreigners call the police for protection, and some have no alternative but to flee the crime scene. What decisive action can be taken? During 2008 or as early as 2005 xenophobia attacks sprung up and there was no clear message from leaders to solve this problem.
Under the current circumstances, the South African government must step up the process of communication . There are contradictory messages from leaders. The president says it is a huge problem and the locals must respect the foreigners. Other leaders say it is not a primary concern, but rather small attacks that are controllable. The government says the xenophobia attacks are in fact under control, yet, videos, images and interviews with victims reveal a different story.
The problem of avoiding xenophobia attacks could have been prevented if the documentation of all foreigners entering the country were correctly applied. The theme to eradicate corruption within government departments and using stricter controls to curb African migrants might have reduced the current violence. A little too late, however; it would seem that Zuma does not have the understanding or leadership qualities to take charge of a desperate situation. The speech Zuma presented does not control the violence, speaking from behind a microphone telling parliament and the country that these attacks are condemned does not solve the problem.
A few weeks ago, the Zulu King, Zwelintini uttered annoyance at foreigners within South Africa and said “they should pack their bags and leave.” Within days, a son of President Zuma echoed the King’s sentiments blaming foreigners for crime and corruption. Did this report urge the locals to take up arms and declare war on foreigners? The silent support Zuma has shown for the Zulu king and son Edward regarding the remarks about foreigners has reached a goal and by not defending the immigrants lives have now been lost
Perhaps the worst thing about the attack is the blatant and open the theft by locals of foreigners stock. What a shame, and what a disastrous situation. The South Africans should be ashamed of their behavior toward fellow human beings, and the leader of the country should admit that there is no control and resign. South Africa needs a leader that can take decisive and firm action amidst a calamity.
Loyal Mozambicans chase South Africans out and close the border to SA.
Violence has broken out in Mozambique, forcing all South African to leave the neighboring country.
Mozambique border closed! KM4 on the Mozambique side. Residence have taken to blocking every South African car in their path and Mozambique Customs have given the request that no South African commercial vehicles should be released at this time for export!
In Zimbabwe, the National Students Union (ZINASU) president Gilbert Mutubuki made the move to call on the youths of Zimbabwe youths to fight back against the violence in South Africa by targeting businesses that are being run in the country.
Opinion by Laura Oneale
Image attribures – 2 : Geradine Farah