•   05/29/2020 10:48:00 pm

Alleged drug peddling in Pretoria, South Africa used as an excuse for xenophobic attack on Nigerians and other non-nationals of South Africa.

Alleged drug peddling in Pretoria, South Africa used as an excuse for xenophobic attack on Nigerians and other non-nationals of South Africa.

Xenophobia is generally defined as "the deep dislike of non-nationals by nationals of a recipient State". Literally, xenophobia was formed from an ancient Greek brace of words, xenos and phobos which means stranger and fear respectively, the term xenophobia is also used by the South African Human Right Commission (SAHRC). Xenophobia is also seen as a manifestation of racism, thus racism and xenophobia support each other and they share a prejudiced discourses.

However, the political reason for xenophobia in South Africa is linked to the inefficient service delivery system which has triggered the socio-economic conflicts by South Africans, thus exposing the government's inability to dutifully serve its people. Despite the lack of directly comparable data, xenophobia in South Africa is perceived to have significantly increased after the election of a black majority government in 1994. 

Xenophobic attitudes by South Africans can be said to have started in 1984 towards the mozambican refugees who fled to South Africa while they were never granted refugee status but were technically allowed to settle in bantustans (black homeland), and has continued through 1993-1997 when the Congolese emigrate into South Africa in large numbers. These xenophobic attitudes towards these refugees we're typified by them being deprived of access to primary healthcare to which they are technically entitled and evidence exists that their host deprived them access to economic resources.

Prior to 1994, immigrants from elsewhere faced discrimination and even violence in South Africa. After majority rule in 1994, contrary to expectations, the incidence of xenophobia increased. Between 2000 and March 2008, at least 67 people died in what were identified as xenophobic attacks. In May 2008, a series of attacks left 62 people dead; although 21 of those killed were South African citizens. The attacks were motivated by xenophobia. In 2015, another nationwide spike in xenophobic attacks against immigrants in general prompted a number of foreign governments to begin repatriating their citizens. A Pew Research poll conducted in 2018 showed that 62% of South Africans viewed immigrants as a burden on society by taking jobs and social benefits and that 61% of South Africans thought that immigrants were more responsible for crime than other groups. Between 2010 and 2017 the immigrant community in South Africa increased from 2 million people to 4 million people.

However, On the 25 March 2019 xenophobic riots targeting African immigrants broke out in Sydenham, Jadhu Place and Overport areas of Durban, South Africa. Around one hundred people attacked businesses owned by foreign nationals resulting in around 50 people seeking shelter in a local police station and mosque. Three people were killed in the riot. A speech given by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC's election manifesto for the 2019 South African general election was blamed for contributing to xenophobic feeling wherein Ramaphosa committed to cracking down on undocumented foreigners involved in criminal activities. The attacks on foreigners was criticised by both the South African government political parties amidst calls to ensure that xenophobic sentiment was not exploited for electoral purposes. 

On the 1st of September, 2019 riots and looting targeting shops owned by non-nationals of South Africa broke out in Jeppestown and Johannesburg Central Business District following the death of a taxi driver. However, information sequel to this attack has been existed to have started as a result of fights that has resulted amongst some drug peddlers around this area and has resulted in shooting and attack of these drug peddlers groups against one another, resulting to the death of the taxi driver in question, no one is sure of who had shot the taxi driver. But as the shooting and attack continued, some locals joined in and were said to have attacked non-nationals found to be majorly Nigerians.According to News 24 the taxi driver found people believed to be police officers allegedly selling drugs. Shots were fired leading to the death of the taxi driver. Angry taxi operators took to the streets and blocked the roads to deal with the drug peddlers.Allegedly claiming that the taxi driver was trying to stop the peddler from selling drugs to a potential buyer.

By the 3rd of September around 81 people had reportedly been arrested by police for looting and five people had died. Around 50 businesses predominantly owned by Africans(most of which were mainly Nigerians) from the rest of the continent were reportedly destroyed or damaged during the incident.

In response the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) cancelled an international soccer match against South Africa taking place in Zambia due to “prevailing security concerns in South Africa.”

However, let's encourage one another and be guided. In fighting against xenophobia let's not be found guilty of self sabotage as a nation.

Pray for Africa.

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