Foreigners in SA warned of looming xenophobic attacks

indafrica August 17, 2020
Updated 2020/08/17 at 10:21 AM

THE Migrant Workers Association-SA (MWA-SA) has warned Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals in South Africa of impending xenophobic attacks at the end of this month and urged them to ensure their safety.

The warning came a week after sporadic attacks on foreigners were launched at Thokoza Flats south of Johannesburg, with South Africans accusing foreigners of taking their jobs.

MWA-SA chairperson Butholezwe Nyathi said there were messages going around on the planned attacks.

“This follows recent attacks in Thokoza location where foreigners had their properties burnt or taken away last week. We are seeing that these attacks are becoming frequent since 2008 when we had the first widespread attacks,” Nyathi said.

“Our contacts within the South African communities feel that it is crucial that those that are coming from outside due to economic problems in their countries should be seen not to be relaxing and taking opportunities from locals.

They should be seen to be organising themselves to resolve their problems because the issue of them residing in other countries is not a lasting solution.”

Nyathi, therefore, called on migrants to put their heads together to ensure their safety.

“To report any signs of pending attacks we can assist to alert XenoWatch. Drop us a WhatsApp with details on 0603119086,” Nyathi said.

At least 12 people were killed, thousands displaced, and businesses looted and destroyed during the violence that began in late August 2019 in South Africa, Human Rights Watch reported.

Those responsible for previous waves of xenophobic violence in South Africa, including the 2008 violence that left 62 foreign nationals dead and the attacks against foreign truck drivers in 2019, have rarely faced any penalties for their crimes, HRW said.

The attacks come at a time Zimbabweans with expired visas, who could not renew the permit due to lockdown restrictions, were recently spared the agony of being deported from South Africa following the extension of the visas to October 2020.

The exact number of Zimbabweans in South Africa is not known though the estimates put the figure at around three million.

In recent years, the neighbouring country has been taking a tough approach to regulating the number of foreigners entering.-NewsDay

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