General News of Sunday, 26 February 2017
The Member of Parliament for Asawase constituency in the Ashanti Region, Muntaka Mubarak Mohammed has moved a motion for the relocation of the Pan African parliament from South Africa following renewed xenophobic attacks in that country.
According to him, some of his colleagues in the parliament feel insecure to travel to the country to conduct parliamentary business over the renewed clashes that has seen some foreigners kicked out of their shops and manhandled by local South Africans.
There is growing tension in Pretoria as locals have charged against foreigners claiming they had taken over their jobs and left them unemployed.
Reports suggest that Nigerians have been the most affected nationals by the recent xenophobic attacks.
Muntaka Mubarak said, “the xenophobic attacks in South Africa contradict our values as Africans and threaten the foundation of the continent’s Pan-Africanist agenda of establishing a political alliance or union of all the African nations to foster economic development and continental integration.”
He expressed regret that the attacks were carried out against nationals of countries that were frontliners in the fight against the apartheid system in South Africa decades ago.
“When incidents of this nature which touch on the co-existence of human beings crop up, it always brings about nolstagic feelings. We could recall how many African nations made several sacrifices to see the demise of the apartheid regime in South Africa – all in the spirit of Pan-Africanism and fellow feeling. Sacrifices were not limited to only political and financial aid.”
“The countries whose citizens were brutalised in the xenophobic attacks were known as the frontline states that harboured South African Freedom Fighters during apartheid. They gave them safe havens, and passports to be able to avoid the clutches of the apartheid regime,” he noted.
The Ghanaian MP in his motion called on the South African government to take a strong stand against the crime and punish perpetuators of the act.
He has also called for the establishment of a special fund to compensate persons who have been victims of the unfortunate attacks.
“[Today we call on] the Government of South Africa to liaise with the sister countries which were affected to establish support funds to compensate victims and also take care of orphans who lost their parents through the attacks;” he said.
The pan-African parliament, which is the legislative arm of the African Union currently has its headquarters in Midrand, South Africa.
AU Member States are represented at the Parliament by five Parliamentarians.
Ghanaians in SA panic over xenophobic attacks
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, last week told Parliament that Ghanaians in South Africa are paranoid over xenophobic attacks in some parts of that country.
“In Mamelodi, a suburb in Pretoria, there is general fear and apprehension within the various foreign communities including that of Ghana following a decision by a local to organize an anti-foreigner march today to protest at what he referred to as South African nationals being tired of enslavement and being deprived of job opportunities in their own country,” she added.
She further explained some measures Ghana’s mission in South Africa had put in place to ensure the safety of Ghanaians in that country:
The mission has visited many shops owned by Ghanaians in the sunny suburb of Pretoria informing them of the development and the need to activate all early warning signals using social media groups to provide information in case of any attacks.
[Ghanaian]Pretoria shop owners have been directed to close their shops immediately the threats are deemed as eminent.
The Ghanaian community in Mamelodi where the march against foreigners will take place today have also been advised not to open their businesses today and remain indoors while awaiting all clear signals from community leaders and the mission.
The mission has also written a note verbale to the department of international relations and corporation requesting their continued protection of Ghanaian nationals and all non-South African nationals as well as their businesses.
The mission in addition to its official numbers introduced a 24-hour mobile hotline [0027 (0) 713098034] that can also be accessed via social media including Whatsapp and telephone.
The number is exclusively for any information relating to the xenophobic attacks and so far we have had a few calls.