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Xenophobia: Five Nigerians Attacked In South Africa In Fresh Wave Of Attacks

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The Nigerian Union in South Africa, on Tuesday, said five Nigerians had been attacked in Polokwane, Limpopo Province, in renewed xenophobic attacks.

The Secretary of the union in the province, Mr. Collin Mgbo, told the News Agency of Nigeria on the telephone from Polokwane that three of the five Nigerians attacked were in critical conditions in the hospital.

“I received a call that a Nigerian was attacked at Ivy Park in Polokwane on March 15. I got to the scene and saw that the Nigerian was almost dead, his house was looted and burnt,” he said.

Mgbo said another Nigerian was also attacked in the same neighbourhood on the same day and that when he got to the scene, the mob left the wounded man and descended on him.

“They left the wounded Nigerian and faced me. They destroyed my car and I managed to escape and run to a police station,” he said.

The secretary added that three other Nigerians, including the owner of a mechanic’s garage, were attacked at Moledji, near Polokwane.

“Their shops and houses were looted and destroyed. The local chapter of the union has reported these attacks to the South African police, the Nigerian mission and the national secretariat of our union.

“Our national secretariat is on top of the situation. As we speak, the three Nigerians in the hospital are in critical conditions and I do not know if they will survive because of the severity of the attack,” he said.

Mgbo urged the Federal Government to persuade its South African counterpart to ensure the safety of Nigerians in their country.

When contacted on phone, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olusola Enikanolaye, said the ministry had not been briefed about the incident.

He, however, promised to get back to NAN after an inquiry from the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa.

Similar, in February, properties worth millions of dollars belonging to Nigerians were destroyed.

The Federal Government later sent a delegation led by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffry Onyeama, and the Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd.), to South Africa for discussion on how to curtail the attacks.      (Punchng.com)

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Oliver Thambo Airport Heist Suspect Arrested After ‘Suspicious’ Lamborghini Buy

Loyiso Sidimba

            The Lamborghini found at the house of one of the OR Tambo heist suspects.
             Image by: Supplied

Security guards at the OR Tambo International Airport are among five more suspects arrested for the daring R200- million heist, including one found with a multi million- rand Lamborghini.

 

The Sowetan reported that the Hawks, working with the provincial tracking team and crime intelligence in Limpopo, arrested four suspects in Soshanguve, Tembisa, Norkem Park and at an exclusive estate in Centurion, Tshwane.

A source, who asked to remain anonymous, said the 39-year-old Centurion resident was in possession of a Lamborghini and an undisclosed amount of money.

Three of the men are security guards at Africa’s busiest airport , and one guarded the vault in which the stolen millions were kept.

Another man, a foreign national, has been arrested for allegedly cloning the police vehicle used in the heist.

The five are aged between 30 and 40, according to a source with intimate knowledge of the investigation.

Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said he could not confirm or deny the arrests.

One of the suspects, whose name is known to The Times, was arrested at his luxury Blue Valley home just hours after posting pictures of himself and friends on social media posing with a brand new R5-million Lamborghini.

On Tuesday, acting national police boss Lieutenant- General Khomotso Phahlane announced that four suspects, including a cop, were arrested.

Two of them have already appeared before the Kempton Park Magistrate’’s Court and face armed robbery charges.

The heist, which occurred two weeks, ago, has already seen five lieutenant-colonels being transferred from the airport, according to the Sunday Times.

Police are yet to confirm whether part of the money has been recovered and are reportedly investigating the exact amount stolen, the currency and the intended destination.

Phahlane said investigations were continuing.

– Additional reporting by Graeme Hosken

(Times Live)

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Jacob Zuma Refuses To Accept Memo From Anti-xenophobia Protest Group

South Africans and immigrants march together to Union Buildings

Photo of anti-xenophobia protest
About 300 people marched to the Union Buildings on Thursday. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee
By Ihsaan Haffejee

Leaders of the Coalition of Civics Against Xenophobia have accused the South African government of bias and hypocrisy after the office of the Presidency refused to accept their memorandum upon their arrival at the Union Buildings.

On Thursday, a group of about 300 demonstrators consisting of citizens of other African countries, immigrants and people born in South Africa made their way from Burgers Park to the Union Buildings where protest leaders wanted to hand over a memorandum of demands.

A large police contingent watched over the protesters from behind the fence that separates the park from the Union Building entrance. Police informed protest leaders that no one from the Office of the Presidency was willing to accept the memorandum.

“This is a national crisis where in the past people have lost their lives, where people’s livelihoods have been destroyed. And for the South African government to refuse to accept our memorandum indicates to us that they are not a caring government. It shows us as foreigners exactly what the South African government thinks of us and it shows their lack of commitment to tackle this sensitive issue,” said Essie-Prince Mpinda a leader representing the Congolese community.

Earlier in the day, Themba Ncalo, the chairperson of the Coalition of Civics Against Xenophobia, said that the coalition is made up of South Africans as well as people from a number of countries. “Our main aim today will be to march to the Union Buildings and deliver our memorandum. We are going to show that South Africa is not a country which promotes xenophobia,” said Ncalo.

The organisers of the march also accused authorities of a lack of co-operation with the march organisers, after the protest was denied permission by metro police.

“It’s strange that a few weeks ago permission was granted to a group promoting violence and xenophobia, and now that we wish to stage a peaceful demonstration we are denied,” said Ncalo.

Despite not getting the relevant permission the march went ahead and was escorted by a contingent of SAPS members on foot and in police vehicles.

Ahmed Abdi, from Somali, who was in Pretoria West when violence broke out in a Somali neighbourhood during the anti-immigrant protest a few weeks ago, joined today’s protest with the aim of countering the anti-immigrant sentiment in his neighbourhood. He said that some Somalis have returned to their spaza shops in the townships after vacating them following the violence, but they are living in a constant state of fear and uncertainty.

Ali Tarar, the vice-president of the Pakistan South Africa Association, wanted to remind people who were looting shops and attacking owners that they were destroying families. “We are saying that when a shop is looted it is not just the owner who is affected. That man is supporting an entire family and in some cases two families. With this looting they have lost everything, including the ability to provide for their families,” he said.

Wrapped in the bright blue flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mpinda appealed to the South African government to stop denying that xenophobia is a pressing issue which needs to be adequately handled. “You cannot paint an entire community with the same brush. If people are involved in crime, we urge the authorities to arrest these people,” said Prince Mpinda. “A lot of the Congolese in South Africa have fled the country because they are in opposition to the Kabila government and as such are fleeing violence and death. For them to seek safety here and still experience this xenophobia is truly regrettable. We are now a no-land people. We cannot return home and we are not wanted here.”

Metro police spokesperson Isaac Mahamba said a march to the Union Buildings needed security cluster approval and a letter from the presidency to say who will accept the memorandum. He said the protesters did not have this letter so permission was not granted.

The Presidency has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Source: GrounUp

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Xenophobia: South Africans Believe Nigerian Men Are Taking Their Women, Says Dabiri-Erewa

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Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa

The Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa on Saturday said South African politicians fuel xenophobic attacks by telling citizens that foreigners, including Nigerians, are dating their women and taking their jobs.

Speaking on a television programme, she admitted that there were foreigners who commit crime in South Africa, and they can be dealt with, but not by discriminating against Nigerians or any other race or country, an online news medium, The Cable reports.

Dabiri-Erewa who spoke on The Osasu Show, noted that xenophobic attacks in South Africa were driven by hate speech and misinformation.

She said, “There are people who commit crime in South Africa, such people are in any country. If South Africa is fighting crime; let it fight crime, not fight brothers and sisters, who are legitimately working in South Africa,

“Don’t forget that these attacks happened in the past. This is the seventh attack. The last one was in 2015… the king of Zulu made some remarks that were inciting, that led to the last attack.

“This particular one, let’s look at the circumstances. Fine, there are economic issues everywhere in the world. Politicians are campaigning and telling their people, ‘you know what, drive these criminals away, they are taking your jobs, and they are taking your women too’.”The SSA advised South Africa companies operating in Nigeria to do more to educate South Africans on the need to stop xenophobia.

She said, “Imagine MTN sending text messages to everyone in South Africa, saying Xenophobia is bad, don’t do this and that.

“They should embark on some corporate social responsibility. Those multinationals should get up and do something. DStv should be doing various jingles on why xenophobia is bad, they should take over the awareness campaign.”   (Punchng.com)

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Xenophobia: Reps Seek Compensation For Nigerians Affected In South Africa

John Ameh and Ife Ogunfuwa

The House of Representatives is seeking the enactment of stringent hate crime laws by South Africa to stop the ongoing xenophobic attacks on foreigners, particularly Nigerians living in South Africa.

This would be one of the key demands of its six-member team, which would visit South Africa to engage the South African parliament on the attacks.

It would also demand compensation for the victims of the attacks, who reportedly lost property valued at over N84m.

The delegation, which is led by the Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, is scheduled to travel to South Africa on March 13.

Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, Gbajabiamila said this was the first time the Nigerian legislature would strongly get involved in the attacks on Nigerians in South Africa – to send the message that the parliament truly felt the pains of its people.

He added that this was important also for the two parliaments to understand that xenophobia or racism would be a costly venture for Nigeria and South Africa, should the former decide to retaliate.

“We are looking at genuine engagement by these two parliaments of the leading countries in South Africa.

“We will talk with our colleagues over there and really pass the message to them,” Gbajabiamila stated.

The Majority Leader gave details of what to expect, “We are hopeful that our engagement with the South African parliament and authorities will provide lasting solutions.

“We will attempt to meet with the South African parliament to discuss the possibility of both our countries enacting hate crime laws. This would cover crimes committed based on nationality.

“We intend to engage the South African parliament and other authorities on areas of mutual benefits and how much both countries could lose from xenophobia and possible retaliatory actions or severing of diplomatic ties.

“This delegation will seek to strengthen the Nigerian /South African Bilateral Commission, which only exists on paper for now.

“We hope to meet with Nigerians who reside in South Africa and assure them of government’s intervention.

“We will advance and hopefully get a commitment on the need for the payment of compensation for the victims of this last attack.”

On the reported deaths of Nigerians in the renewed attacks, Gbajabiamila clarified that no Nigerians had died.

However, he admitted that there were injuries and attacks on business premises owned by Nigerians, resulting in the loss of valuables.

“We have not received a report on anybody who has been killed in these recent attacks.

“Attacks on businesses, yes, and that is why, as a legislature, we have said this form of behaviour cannot continue. We must not wait until lives are lost before we begin this intervention.

“People have talked about retaliation or even recalling our ambassador to South Africa.

“These are easier options, but in diplomatic engagements, retaliation is not the first option,” Gbajabiamila said.

Over 100 Nigerians have been reportedly killed in South Africa in the last two years.

Most of the deaths resulted from violence against Nigerians by fellow black South Africans in neighbourhoods and city centres.

There were instances where the police clobbered defenceless Nigerians to death on suspicion of being involved in criminality.

In the past few days, xenophobic attacks have also focused on business premises and properties owned by Nigerians living in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian-South Africa Chamber of Commerce has condemned the attack on Nigerians in the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.       (Punchng.com)

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S.A.: Zulu King Zwelithini, Speaks On Racism, Condemns Murder Of Farmers

The king had strong words for all kinds of people.

            Image Credits:Wikimedia commons/ Reinhardt Hartzenberg

 

Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini gave his speech at the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday. The king had a lot of things to say, from getting all South Africans more involved in condemning racism, to addressing the recent uproar over farm murders.

Zwelithini hit the nail on the head with almost everything he said, speaking about Penny Sparrow’s “monkey” remarks, he called on all South Africans to call out such racism, not just the ones who are facing the abuse. He shared exactly the same views on farm murders.

“If a farmer is killed there should be widespread condemnation of such acts, not only from white farmers, but from all of us because the victim is a South African irrespective of where he comes from.” – King Goodwill Zwelithini

For Zwelithini, all South Africans across race, class and social groups need to take an interest in each other’s problems, the attitude of “that’s not my problem” has to change.  The king labelled social cohesion and reconciliation a “failure,”  saying they have not taken us forward from our sad past. Zwelihini says in South Africa co-dependence is absolutely key, and it always has been.

“I always say that the history of the Zulu nation would not be complete without the history of the Indian communities, and the history of English people, Afrikaners and Germans. If we accept this truth we would go beyond tolerating each other to embrace each other,” 

The king did not leave those in power out of his comments, calling parliament a place that has “lost its dignity.” At the same time though, he applauded opposition parties and urged them to continue doing their “duties well to strengthen democracy.”

The king has often been in hot water for his controversial comments, this time though he really seems to have ticked all the boxes. All South Africans should make an effort to follow that Zwelithini has said, not because of who he is, but because this time he is right.  Source: IOL

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Xenophobic Attacks: Militants Threaten MTN, Others, Obasanjo Berates South African Leaders

mtn_building

Chukwudi Akasike, Samuel Awoyinfa, Leke Baiyewu and Adelani Adepegba

A coalition of Niger Delta militants, on Wednesday, threatened to blow up Multichoice, owner of DSTV; MTN, Shoprite and 16 other major South African investments in Nigeria if the Federal Government failed to shut them down within one month.

The militant groups, who were reacting to the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and their business premises in South Africa, gave a one-month ultimatum to South Africans living in Nigeria to leave the country and relocate elsewhere.

The threat from the militant groups – Niger Delta Watchdogs, Niger Delta Volunteers and Niger Delta Strike Force – is contained in a copy of a letter, addressed to the Office of the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, located at 71 Usuma Street, Off Gana Street, Abuja.

Signatories to the letter are ‘General’ John Duku (Niger Delta Watchdogs); ‘General’ Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteer); and ‘General’ Hart Bradford (Niger Delta Strike Force).

According to the letter titled ‘Attack and killings of Nigerians living in South Africa’, the militants expressed anger that the South African Police were shielding criminals and joining them (criminals) to kill Nigerians.

Apart from MTN, DSTV and Shoprite, some of the South African companies in Nigeria listed for attack by the militants are Eskom Nigeria, South African Breweries (SAB Miller), Umgeni Water, Refresh Product, LTA Construction and Protea Hotels.

Others, according to the letter, are Critical Rescue International, Global Outdoor Semces, PEP Retail Stores, Woolworths Holdings Limited, Truworths International Limited, Clover Industries, Oracle, Power Giant and Airtime.

The militants added, “Arising from the joint meeting of the Niger Delta Watchdogs, Niger Delta Volunteers and Niger Delta Strike Force, held today (Wednesday) in Port Harcourt, we condemn the recent attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

“We want to state that the recent attacks (on Nigerians in South Africa) will mark the end of this nonsense because we will not fold our arms and allow this to continue. We, therefore, call on the Nigerian Government to immediately close down all the businesses owned by South Africans in Nigeria.

“Failure to close down these companies within one month, we shall mobilise in full force and commence massive attacks on the above-mentioned South African-owned investments in Nigeria. We shall also make sure that all MTN masts and offices are brought down to nought.

“We shall strike any property and persons from South Africa within our reach; we will bring down Multichoice (DSTV), Shoprite and others. We will not fold our arms and watch you (South Africans) slaughter our people like chickens for no just cause.

“We are fully prepared; our professional fighters are already strategising, South Africans must be crushed in Nigeria; our people must be free from these wicked agents.”

The militant groups pointed out that the one-month ultimatum was enough for South Africans to relocate and leave Nigeria, even as they warned Nigerians against patronising South Africans business concerns on the expiration of the ultimatum to avoid casualties.

Accusing the South African Government of plotting to kill Nigerians within its territory, by all means, the Niger Delta agitators cautioned that they would not allow such a plan to be executed.

“How can you explain a situation where the police clobbered defenceless Nigerian citizens to death without any provocation?” the militants asked.

They observed that the South African Government and her citizens possessed the highest number of business operations in Nigeria by a foreign country and making huge profits and living in a peaceful environment with nobody attacking them.

“But our people in South Africa have been unjustly subjected to torture, killings, looting of their belongings as well as burning down of their business premises/apartments,” they added.

Obasanjo berates S’African leaders, youths

Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned attacks by South African youths on Nigerians and other African nationals in the former apartheid enclave, blaming the development on the insincerity of the government and the leaders of the country.

He said this on Wednesday in Abeokuta while receiving the management of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, led by its chairman, Maj. Gen. Lawrence Onoja (retd.).

The former President, who received the delegation at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, said the current development in South Africa betrayed the contributions of Nigeria to the struggle for the emancipation of the country during the apartheid era.

Obasanjo, who blamed the exodus of Nigerians and other African nationals in search for greener pastures, however, called on African heads of government to ensure good governance for the overall development of the continent and its teeming population.

He blamed South African youths for their immaturity while hitting their leaders more for allowing fellow Africans to rise against themselves.

He stated, “Youths can be so immature; they may not understand what Africa stands for; what our continental organisations stand for.  But if the youth do not understand what happened, what happen to the leadership?

“I will blame the youth of the country for the attacks but I will blame the leaders more in any country that allows xenophobic attacks against fellow Africans for whatever reason.

“Having said that, it is also the responsibility of every one of us in our different countries to prepare our countries so that our youths, who think that there is an Eldorado somewhere outside their countries, will be made to know that there are no greener pastures anywhere.

“The greener pastures is here in your country. I feel disheartened to know that many of our youths perish while crossing the Sahara desert or the Mediterranean.”

Ekweremadu heads Senate delegation to South Africa

Also, on Wednesday, the Senate named members of its delegation to South Africa to investigate the ongoing xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in the country.

Senate President Bukola Saraki made the announcement at plenary on Wednesday.

Members of the delegation are the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan; and the Chief Whip, Senator Sola Adeyeye.

Others are Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani; Senator Stella Oduah, Senator Magnus Abe and Senator Shaba Lafiaji.

Nigeria won’t recall envoy in S’Africa, says FG

Also, the Federal Government has ruled out the possibility of recalling its High Commissioner to South Africa in protest against the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in the former apartheid enclave.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olusola Enikanolaye, stated this in Abuja while responding to callers on ‘Tuesday night’ in an interactive programme on Nigerian Television Authority on xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

Enikanolaye said Nigeria had two representatives in South Africa – an Acting High Commissioner and a deputy – who he said had been doing a great job attending to the situation accordingly.

He said, “We are in touch with our representative in South Africa, Amb. Martins Kuban, the Acting High Commissioner in Pretoria, and Amb. Okeke, the deputy, in Johannesburg.

“Really we do not think we need to recall our envoys in South Africa because they are doing a great job; they are regularly in touch with the community leaders. They have dedicated telephone lines to Nigerians in South Africa to report any occurrence. They are doing a great job and in our view, there is no need to recall them home.”

Enikanolaye added that Nigeria was working round the clock to ensure that the issue was diplomatically addressed, saying the ministry had had a series of meetings with the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria.  (Punchng.com)

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