Humairaa Mayet | 6 September 2019 | Image: South China Morning Post
Violent xenophobic attacks across Gauteng involving the torching and looting of small businesses have sparked domestic and international outcry. Media outlets have reported extensively on the happenings in and around Johannesburg over the last week.
Speaking to Salaamedia’s Inayet Wadee, Mohammed Gadimang, Amir of the Gauteng Shura Council, explained the roots of the ongoing crisis. He claimed that a Nigerian man in Pretoria killed a local taxi driver who attempted to stop a foreign national from selling drugs to minors. This set off the attacks and exposed the xenophobic sentiments within South African communities.
Gadimang described the situation underway as “barbaric”, and stated that foreigners and South Africans must unite and attempt to formulate productive solutions to end this scourge of violence and the decay of society. He further explained that criminal elements exist within South African and foreign communities, therefore xenophobia and Afrophobia are not viable options, but reactionary and will be damaging in the long run.
The Nigerian government has urged South Africans to halt their xenophobic behaviour, but Gadimang stated that the first responsibility of the Nigerian government is to ensure the morality of their citizens who live abroad. Ultimately, said Gadimang, the diaspora must respect the laws of the country in which they abide to ensure safety for all.
Also speaking to Inayet Wadee, Fatima Moosa, a resident of Bertrams and journalist with The Daily Vox, described the situation in Jeppestown in the aftermath of the xenophobic attacks. Moosa stated that both long-standing family businesses as well as the shops of immigrants have been ransacked, burnt down and damaged in their entirety.
According to Moosa, Jeppestown, which was usually busy and bustling, was now eerily quiet following the violence. People living there have temporarily relocated and shops, crèches and schools in the area are closed for the time being. Moosa stated that night-time security patrols are being carried out in Bertrams and Jeppestown to ensure for the safety of the residents, South Africans and foreign nationals alike.