South Africa sees another rise in tension over immigrants

South African police on Friday morning fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of anti-immigrant protesters in the country's administrative capital of Pretoria.

Speaking after the launch of Operation Phakisa, Zuma said the march included foreign nationals, was well organised, and was not xenophobic.

We want to point out once again that xenophobia and the attendant challenges is a cancer the South Africa authorities have to deal with in a decisive manner, and do so fast.

Anti-immigrant violence has flared sporadically in South Africa against a background of near-record unemployment, with foreigners being accused of taking jobs from citizens and getting involved in crime. But President Zuma's condemnation of violence alone will do little to address the root causes of recurring xenophobia in South Africa.

In her contribution, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, PDP-Abia State, said Nigeria should take extra-diplomatic measures in dealing with the latest deadly assaults because the "the attacks on Nigerians in SA have persisted" despite all diplomatic solutions explored by the government.

"We support the police", South African marcher Aysha Ali, 25, told AFP.

Inflammatory public statements, such as those made by the Johannesburg mayor last Decembershould also be condemned. It cited recent reports of violence in Pretoria and hate speech on social media.

The figure has previously been attributed to the spokesman for the Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA).

Resentment against foreigners has sometimes turned deadly.

Angry residents in South Africa's Gauteng province have looted and set alight buildings and businesses believed to be run by foreigners as drug dens or brothels.

International Relations' Clayson Monyela has confirmed that South Africa's ambassador to Nigeria has been summoned to that country's foreign ministry for a meeting.

"The government of South Africa is criminally quiet and they say silence is consent, and their police are folding their hands while they are killing Nigerians, this is conspiracy, enough is enough, " he said.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on foreign affairs and the diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa had called on the South African government to stop the attacks on Monday.

Earlier, Sani had expressed concern over recurring xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

"In Mamelodi, a suburb in Pretoria, there is general fear and apprehension within the various foreign communities including that of Ghana following a decision by a local to organize an anti-foreigner march today to protest at what he referred to as South African nationals being exhausted of enslavement and being deprived of job opportunities in their own country", she added.

  • Rogelio Becker