The uncontrollable violence emanating from Xenophobic attacks in South Africa has been blamed on the President-
Jacob Zuma by the leader of opposition in South African Parliament, Julius Maleba. Maleba’s attack came after President Zuma’s public statement to categorically condemn the attacks in the ”strongest possible terms, stating

“The attacks violate all the values that South Africa embodies, especially the respect for human life, human rights, human dignity and Ubuntu. Our country stands firmly against all intolerances such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism.” Disturbingly, the opposition leader has rubbished the rhetoric of the president , indicating that the violent disposition of the government in their handling of situations has set the dangerous foundations for the type of ongoing violence we see today. He alluded to a mineworker’s strike in 2012 in which 34 protesters were killed by the police in the town of Marinika. ”It was under your leadership that when you disagreed with people in Marakina, you killed them because you never believed in peaceful resolution”, his political rival poignantly stated.

Today the violence has spread to Johannesbourg, with the siege on foreigners growing stronger even in the face of word wide condemnation. Attackers set businesses ablaze chanting and singing as they freely committed serious crimes. South African police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowds, but it did not eradicate the violence. A Nigerian dealership in Johannesbourg was burnt down- their hard earned efforts in ashes.

Far from the South Africa envisaged in 1994 following the emancipation of Nelson Mandella from a long unjust jail sentence, the country has deteriorated into a war zone of wolves. Shops have been set ablaze, several immigrants have been slaughtered with Machetes by their vicious attackers, forcing terrified foreigners to take refuge in police stations. The spate of attacks started when Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini was reported to have asked foreigners at a recent gathering to ”pack their bags and go”, as dangerous citizens took it as a green light for them to implement the orders of the king. The son of the president is said to have reinforced the divisive sentiments uttered by the king. The King later backtracked by claiming he was misquoted, an excuse every well placed individual makes when caught out uttering words they cannot defend.

Only recently, a King in Lagos Nigeria had threatened to kill all individuals of a certain tribe, if they did not vote for governorship candidate from another tribe. African immigrants are accused of depriving South African citizens of good jobs, in view of the wide spread scarcity of jobs that has alienated many in a country with a sophisticated infrastructure . President Zuma said his government is addressing the social and economic concerns. In an attempt to extinguish the violence, he said immigrants ”contribute to the nation’s economy and bring skills that are in demand, and should not be stereotyped as criminals. “While some foreign nationals have been arrested for various crimes, it is misleading and wrong to label or regard all foreign nationals as being involved in crime in the country,” Zuma said. High unemployment rates has been a background factor in the mayhem that has bedevilled a country that many professional foreigners flock to in search of high financial rewards.

Crime and wealth are polar opposites in South Africa. An individual can ascend to the heights of his field in South Africa with the valiant qualities of determined and work hard. Equally, it can be turn out to be the nightmare of the most ambitious given the high crime rate in the country. You only need to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, of you are fortunate enough not to be a victim of a targeted attack that can bring your dreams crashing down in in an instance. Several professionals and businessmen from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi and other countries settle in South Africa every year in search of a better life. Such a better life comes at a high cost where the leader and king of the country do not provide strong leadership for it’s people. If the number of immigrants are too much for what the country can handle, then its government policy will have to restrict immigration numbers or find a way to create more jobs for its citizens. The issue of unemployment relative to the immigration level has been topical in Britain for a while, many citizens holding the view that their jobs are limited because growing immigration from EU countries in particular. Others have pointed to the contribution to the labour force made by foreigners, yet this conflict of views has never led to the sort of lawlessness taking place in South Africa. Never has a UK Prime Minister or Royal ever uttered the sort of foolish and un insightful words spoken by the South African king.

Despite the wealth of natural resources in South Africa and many other African countries, poor leadership caused by greed and sheer stupidity has always been the downfall of potentially great African countries. Victims of the attack from Malawi has risen from 420 to 1030, with 650 camping at a location in Durban 45 kilometres from 3 other camps Malawi nationals are seeking refuge. Zambia’s biggest radio station QFM, has indefinitely halted the playing of all South African music in protest at the xenophobic attacks in the country, stating ”we need to send a clear message that violence on fellow Africans negates African unity that the forefathers of the continent fought for”.

In Nigeria, the Chairman of the House of Representatives for Committee on Foreign Affairs asked their government to ‘step up’ and to the responsibility of providing urgent rescue for its citizens in South Africa. Rep. Nenna Ukeje said
”it is important to think of where all Nigerians can gather within 24 hours for safety either in our embassy or mission”. She advised the Nigerian government to ‘act without delay’ in bringing their citizens to safety within 24 hours.

A Mozambican youth group in Mozambic has equally reacted to the attacks on it’s facebook page, with the message “In view of the xenophobic disgrace coming from South Africa, the Youth Parliament advocates that electricity and gas supplies to South Africa be suspended until [South Africa’s President] Jacob Zuma comes to Mozambique to redeem himself.” The anger felt against the South African government is understandable. Ultimately, the South African president must face the shame of the widespread violence that has shamed his government and country.

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