Xenophobia: South Africa Repatriates 5,645 Immigrants

South Africa has repatriated 5,645 foreigners since the end of xenophobic attacks in late April, the government said yesterday. A Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, who said this in a statement, added that the foreigners chose to leave South Africa voluntarily.

Malawians made up the bulk of the foreigners, numbering 3,506, followed by Zimbabweans (1,440) Mozambicans (682), while Tanzanians had (17). Mr. Radebe said the repatriation process started soon after the latest spate of xenophobic violence ended in April.

“The Department of Social Development continues to work closely with other relevant departments, as well as civil society organisations to provide support to displaced foreign nationals,” Mr. Radebe said. The official also said over 1,000 foreigners received trauma counseling.

According to the statement, 10 women with children under 12 months of which three had just given birth were flown to their respective countries on their insistence. Mr. Radebe further said the department would continue to do its work to ensure that the underlying socio-economic issues that gave rise to tensions between South Africans and foreign nationals were dealt with.

He also defended the current Operation Fiela (meaning “sweep’’ in Sesotho language) launched after the end of the xenophobia attacks. He said the operation was meant to address the security challenges in a structured and coordinated manner.

(NAN)

Boko Haram Allegedly Heading to South Africa to Bomb Them For Killing Nigerians?

The dreaded Boko Haram insurgents has been spotted in Zimbabwe in transit to South Africa, according to reports by UK-based news outlet ZimEye, citing Zimbabwe’s national intelligence agency.

According to the Zimbabwean news website, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) issued an intelligence report, warning that the Islamist militant group is in Zimbabwe en route to neighbouring South Africa.

ZimEye added that the South African intelligence service has alerted police officers in Zimbabwe’s Matebeleland region about Boko Haram’s intentions to infiltrate South Africa.

Other Zimbabwean media outlets have picked up the story. One outlet, Harare24, claims, “Officers
were yesterday called for duty at around 9pm and are now temporarily stationed at selected police stations where they camp.”

iHarare reports that police spokespersons have not responded to a request for clarification on the original ZimEye report, and official statements from the government of Zimbabwe regarding Boko Haram’s potential presence in Zimbabwe do not appear to exist.

The Matebeleland region borders South Africa, where the jihadist group may seek to “carry out revenge attacks for the ill-treatment of several Nigerian nationals in the ongoing xenophobic attacks” that have left seven people dead and displaced thousands more from their homes, notes the news website.

Boko Haram released propaganda this month threatening to kill South Africans in retribution for the wave of xenophobic violence affecting Nigerians and others in that nation, though it was believed that Boko Haram members would find and kill South Africans in the areas where they operate: Northeast Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.

Boko Haram reportedly released a video nearly two weeks ago urging South Africa to end the xenophobic attacks taking place within its borders.

Zimbabwe’s online news outlet iHarare reports that in the video, which has not yet been verified as authentic, Boko Haram warned that it would execute all South Africans in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and other surrounding countries if the government of South Africa failed to contain the situation.

Xenophobia: International Criminal Court To Probe Zuma, Zulu King

Following a petition from the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has decided to probe the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other African citizens in South Africa.
SERAP had in a petition dated 23 April 2015 and sent to the Court requested the Prosecutor Mrs. Fatou Bensouda to use her “good offices and position to investigate allegations of hate speech by the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, which has resulted in killing, violence and discrimination against Nigerians and other African citizens living in South Africa, as well as the
complicity/negligence of the country’s law enforcement agencies to prevent these crimes against civilian population.”

In response, the ICC in a letter dated 28 April 2015, and signed by M.P. Dillon, Head of Information & Evidence Unit of the Office of the Prosecutor said, “The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court acknowledges receipt of your documents. This communication has been duly entered in the Communications Register of the Office. We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. As soon as a decision is reached, we will inform you, in writing, and provide you with reasons for this decision.”

SERAP in its petition had urged Mrs Bensouda to “bring to justice anyone who is responsible for these international crimes prohibited under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

SERAP also said that it “considers the use of speech by the Zulu King to promote hatred and/or incite violence against non-nationals such as Nigerians, particularly in the media as a clear violation of the provisions of the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court.

“Grave statements by political leaders/prominent people that express discrimination and cause violence against non-nationals cannot be justified under any law. This hate speech generated fear and hatred that created the conditions for violence and discrimination against Nigerians and other African citizens. SERAP believes that this has given rise to individual criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” the organisation said.

The organisation argued that, “the statement by the Zulu King amounts to a harmful form of expression which incites or otherwise promotes hatred, discrimination, violence and intolerance. We are seriously concerned that crimes against humanity are often accompanied or preceded by the kind of statement made by the Zulu King.”

“Once the climate of violence has been created, direct and public incitement to crimes builds on it, exacerbating the situation by further heating up passions and directing South Africans’ hatred towards non-nationals such as Nigerians. Hate speech by King Zulu is legally tied to contemporaneous, large-scale violence and inhumane and discriminatory treatment of Nigerians and other African citizens,” the organisation also argued.

The organisation also said that, “The statement by the Zulu King has contributed to a climate of fear, demonization and dehumanization of Nigerians and other African citizens, thus violating their human dignity through humiliation and expulsion from the human community. SERAP is seriously concerned that hate speech by the Zulu King amounts to crime against humanity of persecution and has directly contributed to an infringement of the right to life, equality and non-discrimination of Nigerians and other African citizens.”

“SERAP considers the statement by the Zulu King and the apparent complicity/negligence by the country’s law enforcement agencies to prevent the violence and discrimination as amounting to active encouragement of South African citizens to develop feelings of contempt for Nigerians and other African citizens; as amounting to incitement to violence and discrimination against Nigerians and other African citizens, and to mistreat them; and as amounting to an appeal for South African citizens to separate themselves from Nigerians and other African citizens,” the organisation further stressed.

“The statement by the Zulu King and the apparent complicity/negligence by the country’s law enforcement agencies to prevent the violence and discrimination has contributed to the level of persecution against Nigerians and other African citizens. According to Professor Bassiouni, persecution in this instance is “a state action leading to the infliction upon an individual of harassment, torment, oppression, or discriminatory measures, designed to or likely to produce physical or mental suffering or economic harm, because of the victims’ beliefs, views, or membership in a given identifiable group (such as non-nationals),” the organisation also said.

The petition further reads:

“In the Mugesera case, the Canadian Supreme Court held that hate speech may constitute persecution, even if it does not result in the commission of acts of violence. In arriving at this conclusion, the court considered that a link was demonstrated between the speech at issue and the widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population. Thus, the post-World War II jurisprudence generally establishes that hate speech not urging an audience to commit imminent violence can constitute persecution.”

“The government does not have the political will to bring those suspected to be responsible for crimes under international law to justice. Given the complicity/negligence by the country’s law enforcement agencies to prevent the violence, killing and discrimination, it is unlikely that the government will take any serious action to bring perpetrators to justice.”

“Without accountability for these serious human rights crimes, the victims will continue to be denied access to justice, and impunity of perpetrators will remain widespread and the result will continue to be a vicious cycle of violence and discrimination against Nigerians and other African citizens living in South Africa.”

“SERAP believes that substantial grounds exist to warrant the intervention of the Prosecutor in this case. Under Article 17 of the Rome Statute, the Court is a court of last resort, expected to exercise its jurisdiction only if states themselves are unwilling or unable genuinely to investigate and prosecute international crimes. Also, pursuant to the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor has power to intervene in a situation under the jurisdiction of the Court if the Security Council or states parties refer a situation or if information is provided

Xenophobic Violence: Why Are The Citizens Not In Their Countries? – Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma on Monday hit out at other African countries after South Africa faced a backlash over the wave of anti-foreigner attacks in the country.

While Zuma condemned the violence, saying immigrants contributed to the South African economy, he also questioned why so many had flocked to South Africa.

“As much as we can have a problem alleged to be xenophobic, our brother countries contributed to this,” he said.

“Why are the citizens not in their countries?”

Earlier in April, mobs in Johannesburg and in the port city of Durban targeted migrants, ransacking
their homes and burning shops.

Seven people died and thousands were displaced.

South Africa faced a backlash over the attacks and regional relations have been strained, with Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique organising for some of their fearful citizens to return home.

Nigeria has also recalled its ambassador in Pretoria over the attacks while there have been widespread calls for South African products to be boycotted.

But Zuma went on a counter-offensive Monday, saying his government would strengthen measures to tackle illegal immigration.

“Some of them (immigrants) had very serious allegations against their own countries to explain why they are in South Africa,” Zuma said, speaking on Freedom Day that marks the country’s first democratic elections in 1994.

“In fact, some of them warned us that there is almost certainly another wave of refugees coming given the developments in their own countries.

“We have to address the underlying causes of the violence and tensions, which is the legacy of poverty, unemployment and inequality in our country and our continent and the competition for limited resources,” Zuma said.

Many South Africans have blamed the attacks on poverty and a severe jobs shortage in Africa’s second biggest economy. Undocumented immigrants are often accused of accepting work for less pay.

The spate of attacks has revived memories of xenophobic bloodshed in 2008, when 62 people were killed, tarnishing South Africa’s post-apartheid image as a “rainbow nation” of different groups living in harmony.

The South African army was deployed in some of the worst hit areas last week in a bid to crack down on the violence against immigrants.

Xenophobic Attacks: Nigerian Envoys Arrive Home To Brief Parliament

Nigeria’s two heads of mission in South Africa have arrived in their home country.

They arrived ahead of their appearance before the National Assembly.

Nigeria’s Acting High Commissioner in South Africa, Ambassador Martin Cobham, and the Consul-General in South Africa, Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke, are to brief lawmakers on the welfare of Nigerians in the wake of the xenophobic attacks recorded in KwaZulu Natal and Johannesburg this month.

The Nigerian Union in South Africa says more than 4.6 million Rand, about 84 million Naira, has been lost by Nigerians to the xenophobic attacks, as against 1.2 million Rand (21 million Naira), initially estimated.

According to the union, they had compiled the losses and given the list to Nigeria’s Consul-General in South Africa, Amb. Uche Ajulu-Okeke.

The leader of the union said that the Nigerian victims of the attacks needed urgent assistance to re-settle, as many of them had lost their means of livelihood.

Across South Africa, many town hall meetings and dialogue sessions are ongoing in order to quell the tension.

Also some of those displaced have remained at temporary settlements while others have returned to their homes to beginning the process of reintegration in their host communities.

Some of the victims have also fled to their home countries.

Anti-immigrant protest started on March 20 after an influential Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, spoke out against foreign workers.

Xenophobia: Nigerians Lost N21m In Burnt Cars, Looted & Burnt Shops – Envoy

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, the Nigerian Consul-General in South Africa, Amb. Uche Ajulu-Okeke, said Nigerians residing in South Africa have lost more than N21m Rand (1.2m) in looted shops, burnt shops, two burnt mechanic workshops, 11 burnt cars and two stolen cars, among others since the xenophobic attacks in some parts of South Africa started. She said the damages are enormous. Here’s What she said below…

“Nigerians have compiled the cost of the damage to their property and it is totalling about 1.2 million Rand or N21 million, which will be sent to the Federal Government for further action. The Nigerian mission in South Africa is on top of the situation. We are working hard to protect Nigerians in South Africa. Though the task has not been easy but we are trying our best. In one of the hot spots at Jeppe, near Johannesburg, the mission assisted about 50 stranded Nigerians to re-settle. I have also visited the site of the attacks in Johannesburg to assess the damage and it was enormous. I am bringing all Nigerians together so that we work out a vigilance and alert mechanism; they will also tell me what their challenges and issues are” she said.

African People’s Union Declares Citizen Economic Sanctions Against South Africa

The Position of the African People’s Union on the decades-long and ongoing xenophobia in South Africa:

Whereas it has come to the notice of the people of Africa that blacks in South Africa still live in apartheid-like conditions, in ghettos called ‘townships.’

Whereas it is realized that in spite of South Africa’s booming economy there are limited opportunities for blacks, leading to animalistic competition.

Whereas it is understood that the ‘townships’ ghettos for blacks lacks reasonable security for life and property. Whereas we do realize that xenophobia in South Africa was initiated as government policy of the ANC since 2002.

Whereas we do recognize that the subhuman style of mass deportations of migrant foreign workers since 1994 bearing all brutality and insolence of colonial operations deployed against blacks during apartheid, directly contributed to the development of systemic xenophobia in nation. *Lindela.

Whereas we do recognize that the “community policing” and spying provision in the 2002 Immigration act adopted by the ANC in 2005 directly promotes and endorses xenophobia.

To This Effect:
The African people’s Union expects the South African government to review its Immigration laws towards protecting and not persecuting foreigners.

We expect the South African government to act to protect foreign nationals in the state.

We expect the South African government to act to protect South African blacks in the townships.

We expect the South African government to provide real opportunities for African blacks in the townships.

The African People’s Union Resolves:
To embark on widespread citizen economic sanctions against the South African government and corporate business interests via citizen boycotts.

To continue to promote citizen sanctions against the Pretoria government and South African big Corp. until there is actual policy change and real effort to improve the living conditions in the townships and the security of lives and property of citizens and foreigners is treated as high priority.

To this effect, all Africans and friends of Africa are encouraged to boycott South African big Corp. products and South African government operations:

Boycott their MTN phone networks

Boycott South African Airlines

Boycott South Africa’s DSTV

Boycott ShopRite stores