General News of Monday, 27 February 2017
The African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) must intervene to stop the attacks on foreign nationals by South Africans, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu and Ranking Member on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, has said.
According to him, the fight against xenophobia must not be left in the hands of the South African government following the conflicting statements among its officials.
Speaking in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom, on Accra100.5FM on Monday February 27, Mr Ablakwa said: “Yes, there are some legitimate concerns by indigenous South Africans about crime, about lack of opportunities, and lack of jobs, energy crisis and economic downturn, but this is not the way to address it. To blame it on foreigners and look out for foreigners and attack them is not the way forward, it is criminal.
“Xenophobic attacks are criminal attacks but unfortunately the South African police are letting us down, they are unable to arrest the perpetrators. At least our monitoring reveals that about 136 people have been arrested but we expect to see prosecutions because there have been no reported cases of prosecution for those who engaged in the 2008 and 2015 attacks as of now. Nobody has been held liable and this allows for these things to continue.
“We cannot rely on the South African government to handle this because its officials are conflicting themselves – whereas others say it is a protest against crime, others also say this is a xenophobic attack and is not justifiable. Even the mayor of Pretoria, the statement he made in December last year probably may have incited them to engage in the xenophobia for blaming foreigners for the crime. Meanwhile, when you look at the crime statistics in South Africa, foreigners come nowhere near those who are perpetrating crime and so the way South African government officials are speaking is problematic.
“There is much to be desired in terms of the response from the South African government so some of us are saying that it is time for the African Union to step in. Fortunately in South Africa, we have the Pan-African Parliament and so we have more AU officials there; it is time for them to step up.
“This matter must be taken out of the control of the South African government. The African Union must take control and must move to protect Africans. During the apartheid era almost all African countries rose and contributed to the fight against the apartheid regime, and so it so ironic that so soon South Africans will forget about the support they enjoyed from other African countries in the fight against this regime.
“It is time for the African Union and even the United Nations …to take a firm stand against anti-immigration all around the world, except that the South African one is becoming barbaric now.”