COMMENT: Sadc stance against xenophobia welcome

15 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
COMMENT: Sadc stance against  xenophobia  welcome SADC Executive Secretary Mr Elias Magosi

The Sunday News

The poem by then South Africa Deputy President Thabo Mbeki titled “I am an African”, was a call on Africans to stay true to the spirit of Ubuntu – itself a key virtue of Africanness.

Former South Africa Deputy President Thabo Mbeki

“Although Mbeki’s plea stopped short of suggesting practical ways to develop, his intentions were pure and must receive the respect they deserve.

The right to development is a basic right contained in the fabric of international human rights.

He had superior insight into the importance of brotherhood and neighbourliness.

In congruence with the African Renaissance, he warned against intolerance towards outsiders.

“These reminders stand in stark contrast to yet another bout of xenophobic attacks, with horrifying stories and images of mayhem and violence.

Once again, the language of fear is part of our national dialogue as the word xenophobia (Afrophobia in South Africa) dominates news headlines.

Attacks are expressed in barbaric old ways of lynching accompanied by looting, vandalism, intimidation and harassment, assault and murder.

Communities are divided by hostility and suspicion.”

The above statement, from the dailymaverick.co.za, is a sharp reminder to all that violence against another person simple because they come from another country is just pure evil. 

Furthermore, the article articulates what being African is all about, and what neighbourliness is all about, and of course, what the spirit of Ubuntu entails – key virtues that those who are perpetrating violence against foreigners in South Africa do not have.

Southern African Development Community (Sadc)

Nonetheless, it was refreshing to hear that the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has taken a stand against the treatment of foreigners in South Africa by locals who have been organised into vigilantes by a group calling itself Operation Dudula. 

According to our sister paper, The Herald, Sadc has engaged the South African government to ensure the protection of African citizens domiciled in that country against xenophobic attacks.

After paying a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa last week, the newly elected Sadc Executive Secretary Mr Elias Magosi said, as the head of the secretariat driving programmes and policies of the 16-member bloc, he intends to ensure there is regional integration.

Last month, a Zimbabwean, Elvis Nyathi, was brutally murdered by South Africans in Diepsloot in a foreboding repeat of other equally brutal and callous attacks on foreigners. 

However, Mr Magosi said such actions were an anathema to the founding values of the regional bloc that was founded in August 1992.

“The idea of the founding fathers of the community was to ensure that we integrate and that we have our citizens moving freely across the region,  that means they could find economic activity anywhere in the region. 

Operation Dudula

“Zimbabweans could move into Botswana, and citizens of Botswana could move to Zimbabwe or anywhere in the region without fear that when working they should be looking behind their back feeling that they are insecure, so those aspects that have been in the Republic of South Africa, obviously as the secretariat and Sadc, we will be concerned about. 

“We are concerned about it and we are engaged with the leadership of the Republic of South Africa for them to find solutions,” he said.

He said the region also encourages bilateral engagements between member states in the event of xenophobia, which has lately been simmering in South Africa at the instigation of Operation Dudula, which is targeting Africans in what some have described as Afrophobia.

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