South Africa cannot be ungrateful – 47 Ambassadors

Forty-seven Ambassadors in South Africa have registered their strong protest against the xenophobic attacks which have killed ten people and displaced thousands.

The ambassadors have held several meetings with South African authorities during which it was made clear to them that South Africa cannot be “ungrateful” to the African community which helped them greatly during the apartheid regime.

Ghana’s Ambassador to South Africa Kwesi Awhoi who sat through the meetings told Joy FM’s Ghana Connect programme Friday that the team of Ambassadors charged the host country to be stringent in cracking the whip on the perpetrators of the crime.

According to Ahwoi, in 2008 when similar uprising happened in the country, arrests were made but there was no prosecution; a development, he hinted which may have encouraged the repeat of the xenophobic attack in 2015.

The popular Southern African country made the headlines this month after misguided youth went on an attacking spree, maiming and in some cases killing, foreign [african] nationals they accuse of taking over their jobs.

The natives claim they cannot compete with these nationals and the only way to get a job is to do away with them. The horrifying attacks have left many in fear, some displaced and dozens more traumatised.

The attacks have subsided in the last few days, while a number of anti-xenophobic marches have been held. Five Ghanaians have died in the month of April, but none of them have so far been directly linked to the attacks.

Panelists on Ghana Connect Programme-Pearl, a South African lawyer, Sabastian, a Ghanaian resident in South Africa, Dennis, a returnee from South Africa, Ambassador Kwesi Ahwoi, et al- all condemned in no uncertain terms the xenophobic attacks.

Some of them, including Pearl and Dennis, both lawyers from South Africa and Ghana respectively, advocated for a review of South Africa’s immigration policy as one of the key measures of addressing the xenophobic attacks. “…Borders must be tighter; people must have proper papers before coming to South Africa,” she suggested.

Dennis explained there is always the animosity against other nationals when natives believe the “promise of liberation” has failed. He admitted that life for some nationals after the apartheid has not been anything close to what was promised and have found other nationals as easy targets.

He said the least the South African government can do is to streamline its immigration laws to limit the huge number of people who find their way to SA. Sabastian, a Ghanaian teacher resident in Durban, South Africa claims some of his Ghanaian friends sustained some injuries in the attacks and have been displaced.

He counted about five of them he said had been displaced. Sabastian said his job has been affected because he can no longer go out to teach. Kwesi Ahwoi will not completely dispute reports some Ghanaians have been displaced but said his outfit is working tirelessly to ensure that Ghanaians are safe.

He said a man and his girlfriend who had a salon approached the High Commission claiming they are afraid they could become targets of the attacks. He said the High Commissioner is addressing all issues directly related to the Ghanaians in South Africa.

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