3 people have died and 50 others displaced after the recent wave of xenophobic attacks in Durban, South Africa.
According to BBC, about 100 people looted and burnt foreign-owned shops and buildings. The mob consisted of a group of unemployed South Africans who blamed foreigners for taking their jobs. By the end of 2018, the employment rate in South Africa was about 27 per cent.
The repercussions of the attacks
The xenophobic attacks, which begun on Sunday March 24, 2019, have claimed three lives. One woman’s life was cut short after falling from a roof as she was escaping protesters. The other two succumbed to gunshot wounds that were allegedly caused by a shopkeeper.
The attacks have inflicted fear on foreigners living in South Africa and caused them to go into hiding. About 50 were forced to seek shelter at a police station after an angry mob of unemployed South Africans drove them out of their homes last week on Sunday night. Some other foreigners have decided to take cover in mosques.
Leaders condemn the attacks
South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has termed the recent xenophobic attacks as “unacceptable” adding that they are a sign of intolerance and showed ingratitude to other African countries which played a part in getting them out of the apartheid regime.
“These recent attacks that have been levelled against people from other countries are wrong. They violate everything that our people fought for over many decades. I condemn them in the strongest terms,” said Ramaphosa.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said the attacks on foreign nationals equate to ‘self-hate’.
“Stop your self-hatred, stop attacking our brothers from Africa, our sisters from Africa, we are one thing. You say they are taking your jobs [but] even if we expel them tomorrow, you will still not get a job. There are no jobs in South Africa because whites are refusing to invest money.”
The Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Lindiwe Sisulu, also condemned the attacks and asked the police to act against the protesters.
“All criminal activities and looting of properties of foreign nationals will not be tolerated‚ and the police and other law-enforcement agencies must act without fear or favour,” Sisulu said in a statement.
Consequently, the foreign minister has called for an urgent meeting with ambassadors.
In 2015, 7 lives were lost after a gang attacked immigrants in Johannesburg and Durban. Thereafter, foreign governments begun repatriation of their citizens. However, in 2008 was when South Africa was badly hit by Xenophobia as 62 people lost their lives. Nonetheless, 21 of them were South Africans.