Nigerians being killed every day in SA, says union

2015-04-09 17:24
Police arrests suspects in connection with xenophobic attacks in Botshabelo, in the Free State. (File, Volksblad)

Police arrests suspects in connection with xenophobic attacks in Botshabelo, in the Free State. (File, Volksblad)

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Johannesburg - Nigerians were being attacked and killed in South Africa on a daily basis, the Nigerians Traders Union said on Thursday.

"In Nigeria, at the Mutala Mohammed Airport, there is no week you won't see a dead corpse coming from South Africa, said union chairperson Emmanuel Uguwu.

"It is unacceptable."

He was speaking at an African Diaspora Forum press conference on xenophobia in the country, held in Johannesburg.

Uguwu echoed the sentiments of several speakers who said the SA government was turning a blind eye to xenophobia.

Wife of former national assembly speaker Max Sisulu, Elinor, said that as President Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe met for a second day of bilateral talks in Pretoria, xenophobia was not on their agenda.

"They sit on a table and there's lumps of shit on the table. The shit is xenophobia and its stinking there but they will look elsewhere to put the blame yet and say kukhona okunukayo [something stinks], open the windows," Sisulu said.

"They don't deal with the shit. They talk about things which have no relevance to the people."

Sisulu said xenophobia was not just a South African problem, but an issue all over the continent.

Listing a number of solutions, she called for better education on Africa in schools and society.

"People are operating on ignorance," she said.

Xenophobia like apartheid

She also called on leaders to be careful and responsible on how they spoke about migrants in the country.

"When people beat each other up because of what you said, you say, 'oh no, I was quoted out of context'," she said.

Chair of the African Diaspora Forum Marc Gbaffou said xenophobia was no different from apartheid.

"[It's when] you identify a group of people and you say, 'I don't want them,'" he said.

"We don't want that. That is why we are calling on the South African government to help us."

The conference, held at the SA Human Rights Commission offices was attended by SAHRC officials, the King of the Batlokoa tribe, the Protection of Foreign Business and Citizens, the Nigerian Traders Union, human rights activists as well as foreign nationals.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  xenophobia

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