Foreigners In South Africa Appeal To Be Relocated After Attacks

A man kicks a burning piece of furniture during a riot in the Johannesburg suburb of Turffontein on September 2, 2019, as angry protesters loot alleged foreign-owned shops in a new wave of violence targeting foreign nationals. PHOTO: Michele Spatari / AFP

Hundreds of foreign nationals on Wednesday took to the streets of Cape Town, demanding to be relocated from South Africa after camping at the UN refugee agency offices for a week.

The foreigners, many of whom described themselves as asylum-seekers, say they no longer feel safe in South Africa after a surge of xenophobic attacks last month.

“Save lives of refugees before it is too late,” said one slogan, painted in green on a white banner.

Many of the protesters have been camping at the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cape Town since October 9, vowing not to leave the premises until the agency addressed their concerns.

Children play as hundreds of people, originally from Rwanda, DR Congo, Burundi, and Bangladesh, sleeping in a corridor close to the offices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on October 8, 2019, in Cape Town. These people are asking the UNHCR to intervene on their behalf as they say they don’t feel safe in South Africa any more, due to high levels of crime as well as xenophobia, and want help in getting home, or to another country. PHOTO: RODGER BOSCH / AFP

 

The numbers had grown steadily over the past week, spilling out from corridors to the kerb outside the building.

“We marched to parliament for the government to hear us and to send a loud and clear message,” said Sylvia Nahimana, a group representative from Burundi.

“We have been negotiating with them since 2008 but the killing still goes on.”

‘No future for us’

Xenophobic violence left at least 62 dead that year. Seven people were killed in 2015 and 12 died in the latest spate of attacks this year — most of them South African. The incidents occurred mainly in the Johannesburg area.

The continent’s most industrialised economy is a magnet for migrants searching for better job prospects and asylum seekers looking for safety.

The country attracts people from neighbouring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Others come from farther afield including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, and South Asian countries.

Seen as competing with locals for jobs, they are often the first to come under fire when South Africa’s chronic unemployment and inequality boils into resentment.

“We aren’t safe here and we aren’t safe in Bangladesh either,” said Hafeez Mohamed, a political dissident who sought refuge in South Africa’s Northern Cape province, where he saw his grocery store burned down.

“They treat us like chickens and we don’t want to be chickens here anymore.”

The protest broke out following a visit by the UNHCR chief.

“Preserving fair and efficient asylum systems is vital,” said Filippo Grandi in a statement on Wednesday.

“But to function effectively, they must be accompanied by safe, regular migration channels and other stay arrangements.”

But Grandi noted that resettlement to third countries was a “very limited option for refugees worldwide”, as the number of resettlement places was dropping.

South Africa is home to 268,000 refugees and asylum seekers, according to government statistics. They are mainly from Somalia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and the DRC.

But the exact number of foreign nationals is unknown as the majority are undocumented.

“South Africa isn’t better than our home countries we fled,” said Congolese Jean-Pierre Balus at the scene.

“We want to go somewhere out children have a future, where we aren’t segregated.”

“There is no future for us here,” he added.

AFP

Xenophobia: You Cannot Control South African Mindset – APC Chieftain

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Sunny Moniedafe, reacts to President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to South Africa following the recent xenophobic attacks in the country.

 

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Sunny Moniedafe says it is difficult to control the mindset of South Africans regarding how they treat Nigerians and other foreigners living and doing business in their country.

Moniedafe stated this on Thursday during an interview on Channels Television’s Lunchtime Politics.

“You cannot control every single South African thinking or mindset, it cannot be done. All you have to do is to advise Nigerians to make sure they live within the laws of those areas,” he said.

His comments follow the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to South Africa following the recent wave of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in the country.

When asked if President Buhari’s meeting with his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, will end the attacks on foreigners, Moniedafe replied in the affirmative.

READ ALSO: Buhari, Ramaphosa Vow To ‘Take All Necessary Measures’ Against Xenophobia

He said: “I think so. Nobody is happy to have the kind of situation we’ve had in the past. Yes, there are South Africans who are very discomforted and uncomfortable with Nigerians there and they overreacted.”

The APC chieftain who described Nigerians’ attitude as ‘domineering’ also appealed to the citizens residing and businesses in South Africa to be moderate in their lifestyle.

He also wants the Federal Government to ensure that the Nigerian Consulate in South Africa to be “up and doing” by avoiding a reoccurrence of such attacks in the nearest future.

Speaking further on the loss of lives from an avoidable attack, Moniedafe asked the Federal Government and those in government at all level not to joke with the lives of Nigerians.

“I want to appeal to those in government in the various embassies and consulates all over the world to ensure that they don’t joke with the lives of Nigerians. Attacking one with no response leads to these xenophobic attacks,” he said.

I Never Expected Commendation Or Award, Onyema Tells Reps

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace airline, Allen Onyema on Wednesday told the House of Representatives that he never expected to receive a recommendation for a national award.

Onyema was invited to the green chambers and recommended for a national award, after he used his airline to freely evacuate Nigerians from South Africa, following the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in the country.

In his remarks, the Air Peace boss thanked the lawmakers for the honour, adding that his actions were spontaneous and he would do anything to evacuate even a single Nigerian.

“I did not do it spontaneously, nor did I do it for publicity, I had to mortgage my landing right in South Africa because I just got the landing right before the crisis.

“I did not give a damn, I never did, because I know that I will not go to heaven with any dime.

“I have never been so honoured in my life. You have brought tears to my eyes. I would not have been able to do this if the federal government did not allow me or assemble those people for me to evacuate,” he said.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: Why Air Peace Is Evacuating Nigerians For Free – CEO

Onyema had earlier told Channels Television in an interview that he is using his airline to freely evacuate Nigerians from South Africa because he wants the world to see Nigeria respected as a nation

Speaking further in the interview, he noted that evacuation of foreigners from another country isn’t a good sign for the affected nation involved.

On Wednesday last week, the Air Peace airline evacuated no fewer than 185 Nigerians who indicate interest to return home as a result of the xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa.

Another set of about 319 people are expected to return to the country today but the trip earlier suffered a setback as a result of landing permit.

Having resolved the issue and secured the permit for the plane to land in Johannesburg, Onyema said the South African authorities gave the airline an arrival time.

He insisted that it was not the first time he was making a contribution to the nation’s development and highlighted his role in restoring peace to the Niger Delta in the heat of militancy in the region.

Why Xenophobic Attacks Will Not Be Discussed At UNGA – Onyeama

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Geoffery Onyeama says the xenophobic attacks will not be on the nation’s agenda at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) because he believes both Nigeria and South Africa will be able to sort out their differences.

Onyeama disclosed this on Tuesday at a media briefing on Nigeria’s participation at the 74th UNGA holding in New York.

The Minister further said that the issues of non-renewal of work permits of Nigerians in South Africa and the reports around the cancellation of the residency of the returnees will be discussed by both President Muhammadu Buhari and Cyril Ramaphosa during their meeting on October 3.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: Buhari Pledges ‘Solidified’ Nigeria-South Africa Ties As Ramaphosa Apologises

Speaking concerning the compensation of Nigerians who were victims of the xenophobic attacks and lost their goods to the looting of shops owned by foreigners, he said the South African government promised that businesses that were insured will be compensated.

Onyeama said insurance should cover any damage done and added that talks are ongoing on how other forms of compensation can be done via an investor protection agreement.

The Minister, while giving further information on the 74th UNGA said President Buhari will be the 5th on the list of presidents to address the assembly.

President Buhari, according to him, will use the opportunity to articulate to the world, priorities of the Nigerian government.

Side events to be organised by Nigeria will include SDG integration and promotion of international cooperation to tackle illicit cash flows and recovery of stolen assets.

Nigeria is hoping to partake in engagements at the UNGA, which will help the country have seats in several organisations such as the International Maritime Organisation, the World Heritage Committee, and the International Civil Aviation Council.

Nigeria will also be pushing for UN support in the war on terror, the humane treatment of migrants as well as Nigeria’s quest to recharge lake Chad.

Xenophobia: South African Leaders Must Take Convincing Actions – Fayemi

Ekiti Govt Receives N3.9bn Paris Club Refund, Pays Salary Arrears

 

The Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum Dr. Kayode Fayemi has called on South African authorities to do more to pacify keen observers of the Xenophobic developments in the country.

Fayemi recalled the roles played by Nigerians and Africans towards liberating South Africans in their days of struggle asking that such should be reciprocated.

“The South African struggle was a Pan African project. I recall what many parents did in Nigeria , everybody contributed. As a Young University student I was a volunteer in the ANC Chief representative office in Lagos, spending greater part of my youth involved in the struggle to free South Africa.” Fayemi recalled.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: FG Applauds Air Peace For Successful Evacuation Of Nigerians From South Africa

He stated further : “Leaders in South Africa need to really demonstrate that they actually understand what Africans are saying to them. South Africa is not an Island.”

Fayemi stated that showing aggression and putting a uniform tag of criminality on all foreigners in South Africa is an error of judgement which smacks of ignorance and ingratitude.

But he calls for caution in the clamour by some protesters that Nigeria should sever ties with the Country as he highlights the peculiarity of international relations.

“Foreign relations is not handled in a precipitate manner, countries go through processes, I believe we haven’t got to the stage yet where we cut off relationship with South Africa.” Fayemi noted.

Xenophobia: Armed South African Youths Renew Calls For Foreigners To Leave

 

Tension heightened on Sunday in the Johannesburg Central Business District in South Africa following fresh protests by a group which has been demanding that foreigners leave the country.

A crowd of about 1200 hostel residents had gathered at the Murray Park to be addressed by Inkatha Freedom Party leader, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in Jeppestown.

But few moments into the address by Prince Buthelezi, the group consisting mostly Zulus, disrupted the address and left before proceedings were concluded.

Read Also: Nigeria’s Special Envoy Returns To Brief President Buhari

A statement from the police had also asked commuters and churchgoers to keep away from the area around the Central Business District.

Incidents of attacks on businesses have since been reported in parts of the CBD where police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to restrain the growing crowd who attempted to move through the CBD via corner Bree and Twist Streets.

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports of a few fatalities.

Xenophobia Reprisal: Video Shows Extent Of Looting And Destruction At Lagos Mall

 

Details about the level of damage done by angry Nigerians protesting against the fresh Xenophobic attack on Nigerian businesses in South Africa has continued to emerge.

Amid the outrage that followed the violence, many Nigerians joined protests back home against South African businesses in the country, with the protests turning violent in some parts of the country and resulting in the destruction and looting of shops.

The Novare Mall in Lekki, Lagos, which houses a Shoprite store and other businesses believed to be South African, as well as Shoprite in Surulere were among the places attacked and looted by angry Nigerians on Tuesday.
Today, one day after the reprisals, which has been condemned by the Federal Government, videos have emerged, showing the level of looting and destruction at the mall.

The video showed the chaotic scene left behind by the attackers. What is known to be a clean, and organised mall with colourful stores and all manner of goods from luxury items to everyday products, was reduced to scenes fitting in an apocalyptic movie; smashed doors and glasses with all manner of goods strewn all over the floor.

The unidentified individual who recorded the video and others apparently with him could be heard expressing shock at the level of looting and damage done to shops at the mall.

Xenophobia: MTN, MultiChoice Shut Down Operations In Kaduna

Mobile telecommunications company, MTN, and multi-choice offices in the Kaduna city on Wednesday shut down their operations for fear attack by residents angered by xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

At Abakpa MTN office in Kaduna state capital,  business activities were shut down as workers stayed away from their offices.

A banner with “WESAYNOTOXENOPHOBIA” inscription was displayed at the entrance of the office while some policemen kept surveillance on the facility.

The same scenario played out at Multichoice office located along Isa Kaita road, Kaduna.

READ ALSO: Nigeria, South Africa Beef Up Security After Xenophobic Attacks

The state Police Command has earlier deployed its operatives to man all strategic locations in case of possible reprisal attacks by residents on South African businesses.

An official of the company told Channels Television that the  Nigerian division of the company will shut all its offices and service centres in the country until further notice.

Also,  members of a coalition of civil society organisations held a peaceful protest to register their displeasure over the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

They described the spate of attacks as unacceptable and an invitation to anarchy.

The group which was reminded by Yusuf Amoke reminded the South African authorities about the role Nigeria and other African countries played in restoring the peace which it’s citizens are enjoying today.

They urged African countries and Nigeria in particular, to severe all diplomatic ties with South Africa until they are all convinced that such dastardly act will not repeat itself.

Xenophobia: Tiwa Savage Cancels Scheduled Performance In South Africa

Tiwa Savage

 

Nigerian singer and songwriter, Tiwa Savage in reaction to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa have cancelled her scheduled performance in the country.

The hip hop star in a tweet on Wednesday said that she would no longer be performing at a DSTV festival scheduled to hold in Johannesburg, the nation’s capital, later this month.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: I Will Never Go To South Africa Again – Burna Boy

She described the attacks on Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa as “sick” and added that this is the reason why, she would not be participating in the festival.

 

Savage’s reaction to the xenophobic attacks comes a day after talented Nigerian artiste, Burna Boy, vowed never to visit the country.

The self-acclaimed ‘African Giant’ took to his Twitter on Tuesday to vent over the recent attacks, stating that he had also had his fair share of xenophobic experiences in South Africa.

According to him, although his dream had always been to see a united Africa, that dream may no longer be feasible until the government takes decisive measures against the situation.

Xenophobic Attacks: Buhari Sends Special Envoy To South Africa

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a special envoy to South Africa over the killing of Nigerians in the country.

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

According to the statement, President Buhari asked the envoy to convey his concerns to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and engage him on the killings.

READ ALSO: South Africa’s High Commissioner To Nigeria Denies Xenophobic Attacks

While the envoy would arrive in Pretoria latest Thursday, President Buhari directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to summon the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria.

The minister was asked to get a brief on the situation and get the assurance of South African authorities on the safety of the lives and property of Nigerians in the country.

The statement comes hours after Mr Onyeama met with South Africa’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Monroe.

The meeting may not be unconnected with the President’s directive to engage the South African envoy on the killing of Nigerians in the country.

At the meeting, Monroe denied reports of Xenophobic attacks in his country, saying the violence was not targeted at Nigerians.

He, however, said the attacks were ‘sporadic acts of violence’, claiming that businesses belonging to South Africans were also affected.

Read the full statement below:

XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS: PRESIDENT BUHARI DESPATCHES SPECIAL ENVOY TO SOUTH AFRICA

President Muhammadu Buhari has noted with deep concern, reported attacks on Nigerian citizens and property in South Africa since August 29, 2019.

Consequently, the President has instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to summon the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria and get a brief on the situation; express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens; and assurance of the safety of their lives and property.

President Buhari has also despatched a Special Envoy to convey to President Cyril Ramaphosa his concerns and also interact with his South African counterpart on the situation.

The Special Envoy is expected to arrive in Pretoria latest Thursday, September 5, 2019.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

September 3, 2019

Xenophobic Attacks: Eight Police Officers Arrested In South Africa – Dabiri-Erewa

 

At least eight police officers have been arrested in connection with the killings and assault of Nigerians living in South Africa.

The Chairman, National Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed this during a meeting with officials of the National Association of Nigerian Students in Abuja.

Meanwhile, President of the association, Daniel Akpan during the meeting, called on all Nigerians living in South Africa to return home to prevent further attacks.

Also present at the meeting was former Big Brother Africa star, Tayo Faniran, who was recently harassed by the police in South Africa.

Read Also: Xenophobic Attacks: We Are Reaching A Tipping Point – Dabiri-Erewa

Dabiri-Erewa condemned the attacks, stating that it is reaching a tipping point and Nigerians have become “very angry”.

She, however, noted that Presidents of both countries will be meeting to discuss how to address the matter.

US House Condemns Trump’s ‘Racist Comments’ On Congresswomen

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), speaks while Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019, in Washington, DC. PHOTO: ALEX WROBLEWSKI / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

The US House of Representatives formally condemned Donald Trump on Tuesday for xenophobic attacks on four minority Democratic lawmakers and hostile language targeting immigrants, as the president denied accusations of racism.

Top Republican leaders rallied around Trump, but four members of the president’s party voted with the 235 Democrats to condemn him for “racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

One independent lawmaker also supported the measure, which takes aim at Trump’s weekend tweets telling a group of progressive Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” to other countries.

The resolution also takes the president to task for “referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as ‘invaders.'”

Trump has a long history of pandering to white suspicions about other ethnic groups, and the resolution criticizes him for “saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.”

Democrats hold a majority in the 435-member House but are outnumbered by Republicans in the Senate, where the resolution is unlikely to be considered.

The four congresswomen — all but one of whom were born in the US — are of Hispanic, Arab, Somali and African-American descent.

Trump has stuck by the provocative comments.

“Our Country is Free, Beautiful and Very Successful. If you hate our country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!” the president tweeted Tuesday.

Democratic leaders denounced Trump’s remarks and rallied around the lawmakers — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley.

Omar is the only one born outside the United States.

Slamming the “so-called vote” as a “Democrat con game,” Trump urged Republicans not to “show ‘weakness’ and fall into their trap.”

“Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Trump said.

“This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country,” he wrote.

“Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party,” Trump added, in a jab at the House speaker who has had a tenuous relationship with the four left-leaning first-term congresswomen.

Speaking on the House floor prior to the vote, Pelosi said: “Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets.”

“To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people.”

“I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I feel it. And at the highest level of government, there’s no room for racism,” Representative John Lewis, an American civil rights icon, said in remarks on the House floor.

‘All about politics’

Trump’s repeated attacks appear to be aimed at galvanizing his mostly white electoral base ahead of the 2020 presidential vote.

They would seem to have borne fruit, with his approval rating among Republicans rising five percentage points to 72 percent, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday.

His overall rating with the public at large remained unchanged from last week at 41 percent.

“See you in 2020!” said Trump, who before becoming president pushed the racist “birther” conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Ocasio-Cortez dismissed Trump’s denial that he is a racist.

“You’re right, Mr. President — you don’t have a racist bone in your body,” she tweeted. “You have a racist mind in your head, and a racist heart in your chest.”

She also took aim at Republican lawmakers who voted against the resolution, telling CBS News that “they could not bring themselves to have the basic human decency to vote against the statement that the president made.”

Trump meanwhile took to Twitter on Tuesday night to hail “how unified the Republican Party was on today’s vote.”

While some Republican members of Congress have condemned Trump’s remarks, House Republican leaders closed ranks behind the president.

“This is all about politics,” said House Republican minority leader Representative Kevin McCarthy of California.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, said “the president is not a racist.”

AFP