Let us be tolerant of each other - Nigerians in SA

2017-02-22 19:08
(File, Thomas Hartleb, News24)

(File, Thomas Hartleb, News24)

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Johannesburg - Nigerians living in South Africa no longer feel safe following attacks on foreigners in Pretoria West, the Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) said on Wednesday.

“Criminality has no nationality. There are Nigerians that are living positively and contribute to the South African economy,” NUSA’s spokesperson Emeka Collins told News24.

He called for those involved in the attacks to be arrested.

Two weeks ago, at least 10 houses suspected to belong to drug lords and brothel owners were set alight during protests in Rosettenville, Johannesburg. Locals accused Nigerians of being behind the illegal activities.

Over the weekend, residents set alight three houses and looted several more in Pretoria West.

The properties were mostly owned or occupied by foreign nationals. Residents claimed they were being used for prostitution and drug dealing.

Collins said there was nothing to prove that the violence in Pretoria West was linked to the fight against drugs and prostitution.

“We appeal for people not to take matters into their own hands, here and back home. We implore the police and South Africa’s law enforcement agencies to intervene early.”

News24 recently came across an audio clip in which a man can be heard calling on all foreign nationals to act against the “jealous monsters” by burning South African businesses in their respective countries. “Give them war and give them hell,” the man says.

The origin of the audio clip was not known.

Threats circulated

The justice, crime prevention and security cluster urged people not to incite violence. Security agencies were aware of threats being circulated on social media and security measures had been put in place, spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said in a statement.

He urged people who felt threatened to follow lawful channels.

“There is no place in our constitutional democracy for citizens and/or foreign nationals to take the law into their own hands and incite violence,” Dlamini said.

Collins said NUSA would not encourage reprisals.

“We are asking for the South African society to understand that not every Nigerian is a criminal. Everybody cannot be painted with the same brush. In every community, you have good ones and bad ones.

“What we are asking for is tolerance. We are all African,” he said.

Both Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga vowed to prevent such attacks.

Mashaba said he condemned xenophobia.

“There is no place for xenophobia in the City of Johannesburg. This is a city built by and made up of migrants from all over the world.”

Msimanga acknowledged that the protests were against the drug trade, and was aware that they were punctuated by “elements of xenophobia”. He condemned calls for foreigners to be persecuted.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  xenophobia

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