Friday, April 24, 2015

VIDEO: Nigerians give SA 21 days to compensate victims of xenophobia

Following an unreasonable fear of or hatred against foreigners living in South Africa which has triggered the senseless killing of mostly fellow African blacks, a civil society group, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), has called on the South African government to pay compensation to victims of the xenophobic attacks in that country. South Africa has been in the news for bad reasons in recent days, witnessing a spate of some of the most violent xenophobic attacks with at least seven people reportedly killed in Durban and Johannesburg.

 It would be recalled that the latest outbreak of anti-immigrants violence was widely blamed on a speech allegedly credited last month to King Goodwill Zwelithini, traditional leader of the Zulu ethnic group, in which he linked foreigners to crime and said they must “take their bags and go”. Though the king has since claimed his words were misconstrued. But the killings continued unabated. It was estimated of the number of foreign nationals in South Africa vary from two to five million, among a population of more than 51 million. 

According to some reports, the reasons are high unemployment and inequality, which the South African blacks claimed that foreigners are taking over their jobs. In 2008, 62 people were killed in xenophobic violence across Johannesburg’s townships. In January this year, six people died as looters rampaged through Soweto Township. However, CASER, in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja by its Executive Director, Mr Frank Tietie, has also demanded the setting up of a victims’ support fund by the Federal Government to assist affected Nigerians. 

The group canvassed that all South African businesses in Nigeria should contribute money to the fund. The demands was presented during a peaceful protest to the South African High Commission in Abuja on Tuesday. CASER used the protest to denounce the attacks and hold the South African government responsible for failing to protect Nigerians and other African nationals in its domain. - See more at: 

The statement read: “The South African government would be compelled to pay compensation to all the victims of the xenophobic attacks. This is imperative since the government has failed to take steps to prevent the reoccurrence of the attacks after the 2008 xenophobic violence which led to the gruesome death of 62 persons. 

The Nigerian government would be demanded to set up a fund to which all South African businesses in Nigeria must contribute money to support the victims of the recent shameful xenophobic attacks in South Africa,” the group said “Black South Africans would be reminded of how ungrateful they are as a people to the rest of Africa, especially Nigerian workers who contributed money to their liberation struggles. We would show that Nigeria loves all people, especially Africans, and they are all fully welcome to live, work and do business in Nigeria with all their rights guaranteed,” the statement added.

 The Nigerian Consul-General in South Africa, Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke, said that Nigerians had lost more than 1.2 million Rands (N21 million) in the ongoing attacks. Ajulu-Okeke stated that the losses included looted shops, burnt shops, two burnt mechanic workshops, 11 burnt cars and two stolen cars, among others. 

The xenophobic attacks were allegedly triggered by comments credited to Goodwill Zwelithini, an influential South African king, who was quoted to have said foreigners should leave the country. Zwelithini’s comments resounded among many poor South Africans who accuse foreigners of taking advantage of weak immigration laws to flood the country and “steal” their jobs.

 Thousands of people took part in a “peace march” against xenophobia in Durban, South Africa, on April 16, 2015. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa appealed for the end of attacks on immigrants as the wave of violence that has left at least six people dead threatened to spread across the country. In the past two weeks, shops and homes owned by Somalis, Ethiopians, Malawians and other immigrants in Durban and surrounding townships have been targeted, forcing families to flee to camps protected by armed guards. - See more at:

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