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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 February 2017


Let peace, calm prevail in South Africa


Reports that at least 18 Ghanaians have been rescued by Ghana’s High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa, as xenophobic attacks on immigrants in that country worsen are most alarming, to say the least.

Some of the rescued Ghanaians are reported to have sustained major injuries in their attempt to escape from the attacks.

Shops owned by Black Africans have also been looted, with shops belonging to Nigerians the most affected.

What is happening in Pretoria is cause for serious concern and the Daily Graphic would like to add its voice to the global condemnation of the attacks, violence and destruction of property belonging to foreigners, particularly in Pretoria West and Rosettenville.

These worrying developments in South Africa cannot be glossed over by any right-thinking person or nation. The barbaric attacks, in our view, evoke bitter memories of the deadly xenophobic attacks of 2015 which displaced thousands of African immigrants living in South Africa following inflammatory remarks by the Zulu King, who called for the expulsion of foreigners.

Many foreigners in that country are in a state of disbelief, with some threatening to resort to self-defence or reprisal attacks, a development that could make the situation even more tense and worrisome.

As the orgy of anti-immigrant violence continues to rock South Africa, leaving foreigners there in severe trauma, the global community must not just look on helplessly but act decisively to bring a halt to the attacks.

As an immediate move, the government of South Africa must stop the xenophobic violence before it develops into a continental problem.

The African Union (AU) must, as a matter of urgency, quickly step in to halt the attacks on its citizens. Already, some countries, including Nigeria and Zimbabwe, are threatening reprisal actions if the dastardly acts continue.

While the Daily Graphic calls for restraint in South Africa for peace and calm to prevail, the authorities of that country should not relent in working to attain the goal of peaceful co-existence.

The global community must also support the authorities in South Africa to devise comprehensive working strategies to detect, counter and nip in the bud any xenophobic tendencies before they blossom into full-blown violence.

They must also endeavour to weed out criminal elements among the foreigners in South Africa‚ especially those involved in drugs and prostitution.

Clearly, no grievance justifies violence against foreign nationals and so the Daily Graphic would suggest that in cases of extreme dissatisfaction with law enforcement, vis-à-vis alleged criminal activities perpetrated by some foreigners‚ indigenous South Africans should not take the law into their own hands to engage in acts that could only be described as barbaric.

It is important for South Africans to learn to co-exist peacefully with their brothers and sisters from other parts of thecontinent. After all, when South Africa was fighting for the dismantling of apartheid, it was these same people that it relied on to gain that freedom it so much wanted.