So. Africa: Foreign-owned shops targeted in new wave of violent, xenophobic attacks

Anti-xenophobia protest_So.Africa

A series of violent attacks against foreign nationals and the looting of foreign-owned shops is being witnessed in South Africa, yet again. The most recent spate of xenophobic attacks, which broke out in Durban before spreading to other parts of the country, is being attributed to inflammatory remarks made by high profile people. Responses have ranged from peace marches to investigations by the South African Human Rights Commission. All media items on this issue can be found below.

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Article
19 April 2015

So. African companies with operations in Africa suffer backlash following xenophobic attacks

Author: Thekiso Anthony Lefifi, Business Day (So. Africa)

'Xenophobia hits MTN, Sasol, square on', 19 Apr 2015: South African companies…are suffering a fierce backlash from this week's wave of xenophobic violence…[O]fficials of the newly elected Nigerian government…demand[ed]…that South Africa take…action against…attackers — or else South African business in Nigeria would be shut down…Chris Moroleng, MTN's head of corporate affairs, said…MTN was seen as a local rather than a South African company in most of its markets…Other companies…including Standard Bank, Nedbank, Shoprite, Sun International, Old Mutual, Naspers's MultiChoice and Massmart — may yet feel the sting of this threat. Petrochemical giant Sasol…evacuate[d] 340 South Africans from Mozambique, Sasol spokesman Alex Anderson said…"Mozambican employees of our service providers…expressed concern…[regarding] reported incidents of violence against Mozambicans and other foreign nationals in South Africa…"...Citizens in a number of African countries…vowed to retaliate, which puts several other…companies at risk, including Barclays Africa, Vodacom and SABMiller…Primedia CEO Roger Jardine said…"Can corporate South Africa expect to do business on the African continent yet be silent on xenophobia?"…

 

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Article
16 April 2015

So. Africa: March condemning attacks against foreign business-owners draws thousands

Author: BBC

'South Africa's Durban city rallies against xenophobia', 16 Apr 2015: Up to 5,000 people have taken part in a rally against xenophobia in South Africa's coastal city of Durban following attacks on foreigners…Many jobless South Africans accuse foreigners of taking jobs in a country where the unemployment rate is 24%. "No amount of frustration or anger can justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops," President Zuma [said]…Protesters marched through Durban chanting "Down with xenophobia" and "A United Africa", led by the city mayor… Marcher Vanessa Govender [said]…"It's just a mammoth show of support for all those…who have fallen victim to the…violence."…

 

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Article
16 April 2015

So. African Human Rights Commission to investigate Zulu King amid claims his speech incited attacks against foreign businesses

Author: Jenni Evans, Mail & Guardian (So. Africa)

'Rights violation charge laid against Zulu King', 16 Apr 2015: Tim Flack…of the SA National Defence Union…decided to lay…[a] charge [against Zulu King, Goodwell Zwelithini] online on the SA Human Rights Commission’s website, for allegedly inciting violence, and sedition. He said the commission acknowledged his complaint, telling him it had been referred to its KwaZulu-Natal office. The rights Flack alleges were violated by the king include the rights to dignity, security, life, movement and residence, contained in the Bill of Rights. This followed reports of a speech he made in…March in which [he]…reportedly [said], that immigrants should “take their bags and go”…

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Article
15 April 2015

So. Africa: Foreign store owners stand their ground during tense standoff with attackers

Author: Khulekani Magubane, Business Day (So. Africa)

'Foreign nationals stand their ground during tense standoff in Joburg CBD', 15 Apr 2015:…Police presence was high…in downtown Johannesburg…where foreign nationals stood their ground…[against] a crowd [which] tried to attack them… Gauteng government spokesman Thabo Masebe said…“…We condemn any xenophobic attacks…There can be no justification for the[m]…the police…are doing everything they can to prevent th[e]…attacks…”…[However] [f]oreign [store owners]…[said] they would rather trust social networks…than the police or government…“We get Whatsapp messages warning us about any attacks. It helps us…to prepare…Our brothers and sisters…check…if we are okay and tell…us if they are attacked,”…Einna Chima…from Nigeria, said…Ridwaan Yusuf, a store owner from Pakistan said he had been getting threats for weeks that his store would be looted if he does not close it down…[C]hants of “no more” could be heard as foreigners chased a[way] [a]n attacker…before he could throw a brick at a foreigner lying on the ground. Retreating attackers could be heard shouting “abahambe” (they must go)…

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Article
14 April 2015

So. Africa: Several dead following xenophobic attacks, looting of foreign-owned shops

Author: Jeff Wicks, Mail & Guardian (So. Africa)

'Several dead as xenophobic violence boils over in Durban', 14 Apr 2015: Several people have been killed and thousands more displaced…[following] violent attacks on the basis of ethnicity…As [police] officers battled to protect foreign nationals…locals forced their way into shops and made off with…goods before setting…shops ablaze…The upsurge in violence and criminality follows an effort from local and provincial government to reintegrate thousands of displaced foreign nationals back into their communities…The spate of xenophobic violence…follows reported remarks by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini that foreigners should “pack their bags and go home”…A Somali shopkeeper…Bashir Mahmoud (27) said…“…I worried that they might kill me…[t]he government says…we are welcome here, but that is not the truth…”… The shopkeeper…said South Africa had become hell on earth…

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Article
14 April 2015

Xenophobic attacks may harm image of South African companies with operations across the continent, says analyst

Author: Khulekani Magubane, Business Day (So. Africa)

'Xenophobic attacks may harm image of local business', 14 Apr 2015: The xenophobic violence outbreak in Durban could harm the image of South African big business investing around the continent, said political analyst Prof Somadoda Fikeni…"It (the violence) could build resentment among people of other countries, who see that South Africans do not welcome them and they would figure, ‘Why should we welcome you?’ Those businesses you bring into other countries are not on the small scale that you see here, but they are big companies," Prof Fikeni said. South African companies that have expanded their investments around the continent include retail giant Shoprite and telecommunications company MTN…

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Article
6 April 2015

So. Africa: Human Rights Commission probes possible xenophobic statements by president's son

Author: Karl Gernetzky, Business Day (So. Africa)

'SAHRC probes possible xenophobic statements by Zuma's son', 6 Apr 2015: The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has confirmed that it is probing remarks attributed to President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward Zuma, repeating King Goodwill Zwelithini’s sentiments that foreign nationals should leave SA. The commission was investigating the incident after it received complaints, spokesman Isaac Mangena said. Questions were raised…about whether the king’s remarks…sparked violence against foreign nationals…[M]ore than 350 people sought refuge at…[a] police station…[after] violence was triggered by foreign workers replacing fired residents at a local retail warehouse, according to reports…[T]he provincial government…[said] “The executive council appreciates its obligations to promote, defend and fulfil human rights as outlined under relevant conventions of the United Nations (UN) and the African Union,"….

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