Xenophobic attacks: Nigerians in South Africa cry to Ramaphosa for protection
March 6, 2022
Nigerians living in South Africa have asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to protect them and their properties from xenophobic attacks.
The Nigerian community made the request amid the recent wave of hostilities against foreigners in South Africa.
The Nigerian community, under the aegis of Nigeria Union South Africa (NUSA) made the request in a statement signed by the President of NUSA, Mr Collins Mgbo and e-mailed from Pretoria, South Africa.
“I call on President Cyril Ramaphosa to help our community during this trying time so that we may not lose our brothers again” to xenophobic attacks, Mgbo said.
The NUSA president said foreigners became even more worried when a group of more than 2,000 people recently demonstrated against migrant workers as part of “Operation Dudula’’.
Dudula, a Zulu word which means “drive back’’, has gained popularity as a sign of growing anti-immigrant sentiments in South Africa, a country that has seen the level of unemployment worsen and poverty further worsened by COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Operation Dudula group turned up in a mob of several hundreds at a migrant centre in South Africa’s Soweto township, with the unemployed, wielding weapons and angry with foreigners they accuse of taking their jobs, chanting `Foreigners, go home’,’’ Mgbo said.
He explained that NUSA was worried about the safety of Nigerians in South Africa when the groups began with their illegal acts of abuse and destruction of properties and businesses owned by foreigners, and Nigerians in particular.
“We are concerned because in the past, xenophobic protests have led to violence and looting of shops owned by foreigners.
“In 2008, the attacks against foreigners left at least 62 people dead, and in 2015, seven innocent African brothers were killed.
“Armed mobs descended on foreign-owned businesses in Johannesburg in 2019. Another mob attack left at least 12 people dead.
“In recent weeks, scores of protesters have been staging demonstrations against undocumented migrants in what they have dubbed ‘Operation Dudula’, and this time, we do not know how many foreign nationals would sacrifice their lives for it,’’ he said.
Mgbo said that politicians such as Julius Malema, the Commander-In-Chief of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Mmusi Maimane, had condemned the actions of this group.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa voiced out his concern stating that his government was closely watching ongoing anti-migrant protests to prevent them from resulting into xenophobic attacks, amid growing public anger at foreigners.
“Ramaphosa said his government is aware of pockets of groupings that are trying to foment negative attitude and feelings toward foreigners.
“The president said the law enforcement agencies are keeping a watchful eye on the way that people are responding to the presence of people from other countries in our own country,’’ Mgbo said.
He quoted the South African president as saying: “The security agencies are watching and will make sure these things will not result into violence against people from various other countries.’’ (NAN)