• Friday, July 12, 2024
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Xenophobia is bad but so are African leaders who fail their people

post-xenophobia attacks

South Africa’s international relations minister Naledi Pandor says African leaders who fail to make their countries liveable should not be allowed to escape the ire of their citizens.

Pandor’s comments came in the wake of a wave of xenophobic attacks in her country and which led to countries like Nigeria sending in planes to evacuate citizens from the country.

According to her, “No leader should be allowed to get away with allowing degradation and expecting someone else to provide a response to their countrymen and women”.

Talking to migrant representatives, she said that African leaders should not be allowed to worsen conditions in their countries and expect others to deal with the resulting migration.

Twelve people were killed earlier this month when mobs attacked foreign-owned businesses, mainly in Johannesburg.

Ten of the victims were South African and two were Zimbabweans.

President Cyril Ramaphosa told the BBC that he felt ashamed by the recent violence.

“We are very concerned and of course as a nation we [are] ashamed because this goes against the ethos of what South Africa stands for,” he said.

But in looking for solutions, Ms Pandor suggested this was not just a South African issue.

“We need to talk about the role that sending countries and transit countries play in assisting receiving countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and many others and in helping them manage the issue of migration far more effectively,” she told members of the African Diaspora Forum in Pretoria.

South Africa has become a magnet for migrants from other parts of Africa as it has one of the continent’s biggest and most developed economies.

But there is also high unemployment in the country and some people feel foreigners are taking their jobs.

Ms Pandor turned to the continent’s need for rapid economic development to help deal with the rising population.

“And so this migrant community has displaced South Africans from what they thought would be new job opportunities for them, hence this rise in… anger.”

She said better education would help improve people’s job prospects.

South Africa has faced damning criticism from leaders of other African countries over the violence. Nigeria was notably outspoken and South Africa has issued an apology to the country.