AS more of our stranded nationals who have responded to the call by the Federal Government to voluntarily return home continue to arrive, the Federal Government must take firm measures to ensure that South Africa pays a stiff price for condoning xenophobic violence for almost three decades.
It is unfortunate that the same Black indigenous South Africans for whom the entire continent led by Nigeria rose against major Western powers and fought until Apartheid was abolished and Nelson Mandela released from 28 years of imprisonment quickly turned against fellow Africans to vent their frustration for the obvious failure of the African National Congress, ANC, to make freedom count for them.
There is no denying the fact that many leading lights within the ANC leadership have directly or obliquely made statements which support the hostile attitudes to foreign African nationals in South Africa. The same sentiment is not directed at other migrants from Europe, America and Asia.
African migrants are blamed for allegedly taking the jobs that should go to South African Black indigenes and engagement in criminal activities (especially the drug trade, gangsterism and the importation of fake goods into the country).
It is the job of government and law enforcement agencies to control and punish crime. Obviously, the ANC which has controlled the political machinery of South Africa since May 10, 1994 (25 unbroken years) has been weak and incompetent and allowed the breakdown of law and order in their country. They quickly decided to queue behind the mobs vicitmising foreigners for their own failure.
Even though the government of South Africa came out belatedly to condemn and disown xenophobia, some prominent leaders such as the Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, have continued to openly wax unrepentant and unapologetic. What it means is that when the flurry of diplomatic fire-fighting dies down, foreigners who remain in South Africa will still not be safe. They will continue to live in fear. It may become a guerilla warfare targeting foreigners.
The ANC regime has betrayed African nationalism. It spat in the face of Africa’s benevolence and sacrificial brotherhood. The country must be made to pay a heavy price. If their laws do not permit the compensation of people whose goods and property were razed, destroyed or looted by xenophobic mobs, then they must be subjected to international law.
We still support President Muhammadu Buhari’s return diplomatic mission to South Africa any time it is deemed suitable to do so. If South Africa remains obstinate and continues to condone xenophobia, it must be internationally isolated like the Apartheid regime, and African countries must take that initiative.
Xenophobia and mob rule must never be allowed in Africa. Governments must implement the laws of their land rather than surrender to mob justice.