SA Xenophobia– In the early hours of Sunday it was reported that some Nigerian homes and businesses have been razed down by South African citizens.
A report suggests that the Nigerian businesses in question were illegal. Some of the burnt buildings were said to be brothels and drug dens allegedly owned by foreigners.
Xenophobic attacks are not new in South Africa. In 2015, the massive attack of foreigners in the country was all over the media, sparking off outrage and criticisms within and outside the continent.
The 2015 attack raised concerns about the security of the migrants in the country – some lives were lost but most properties were destroyed.
A couple of times more from then till now, 2 Nigerians were killed on different occasions on claims of illegal drug dealings.
According to report, about 300 South Africans stormed about 10 residents and business premises of foreigners most of whom were Nigerians, and destroyed them.
A testimony from a witness said that the angry mob invaded their home chanting, “all foreigners must leave”. The angry and chanting nationals looted these homes and business venues before setting them ablaze.
In support of the jungle justice by the xenophobic South Africans, Charles Ngakula of Pretoria West said this:
“We are tired of the crime in our area. These Nigerians must take their drugs back to Lagos,”
Included in the destroyed businesses was a mechanic workshop with over 20 cars for repairs and a church. The minister of the church is reported to have been injured and receiving treatment in a hospital.
While some victims said the South African police did not do anything to stop the attacks, some other report says that by Saturday afternoon, the police came into the scene and fired rubber bullets at the violent group.
News24 says that at least 7 police vehicles were used to block off WF Nkomo Street and a police helicopter was also involved in the operation.
This incident appears to be a replica of last year’s xenophobic attack in Zambia where some foreigners were killed over ritual accusation. Zambians accused the foreigners who live in Zingalume and Chunga communities of killing their people and using them for rituals.
In the same way, South African citizens carried out the attack to send a strong message against migrants who indulge in illegal businesses.
Memory Vilakazi confirmed that some foreigners did illegal businesses.
“There are immigrants who own brothels and sell drugs, but not all foreigners are bad,”
“South Africans wanted to plunder it [my home] because it belongs to a Congolese national. They don’t like it when foreigners own property.”
With the incessant xenophobic attacks on foreigners in recent times, it is blatantly evident that migrants in South Africa need to watch their backs.
Nigerians in South Africa have protested severally against xenophobic killings and attacks of their people in South Africa.
A Zimbabwean refugee was also reported to be a victim of the attack.
The Nigerian government has been beckoned to defend her citizens, probe into the matter and reach an agreement with the South African counterpart. So far, no arrests have been made.