WINDHOEK – The SADC Council of NGOs yesterday condemned the spate of deadly xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
The xenophobic attacks ominously came after Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini told a gathering at Pongola in Kwazulu-Natal that African immigrants should pack up and go home apparently because of being the cause of dirtiness and crime on the streets in South Africa.
The SADC Council of NGOs based in Gaborone, Botswana said the recent attacks should be “condemned in the strongest possible terms by all peace-loving people”.
“The events have erupted from simmering anger and hostility in South Africa as people lash out in violence against other Africans for what they perceive as the undue advantages they enjoy,” stated the NGO.
Citing the 2008 outbreak of xenophobic attacks in South Africa and the January 2015 looting, theft and violence against non-South Africans the NGO stated: “The tragic history has shown a serious lack of proper, consistent and principled leadership on the part of the South African government to combat xenophobia.”
It accused the South Africans of having only responded after the attacks happened and that there has been no seriousness on the side of the authorities to address the issue.
South Africa, said the NGO, “has reached a tipping point: it must either return to the path of democracy, rule of law and justice for all or unravel in violence, lawlessness and anarchy.”
“The Government of South Africa must face the responsibility of closing the gap of social injustice and political grievances coming from its citizens who are disaffected and disenchanted,” it said.
More analytically the NGO said the recent events in South Arica are an explosion of built-up frustration across the board where black South Africans “are tired of being at the bottom of society where others live in great luxury. Other Africans are tired of being the scapegoat and victims of the anger and violence from South Africans.”
Following the recent attacks Africans from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Congo and other countries have been brutalised and were forced to leave their homes and businesses in fear of losing their lives while several others have been killed.