NUNW steps into xenophobic fray

The NUNW is of the view that the leaders in SADC should have already convened a meeting over the violence seen in several African countries.

06 September 2019 | Local News

While the backlash across Africa to xenophobic violence against Africans in South Africa is spreading and becoming more violent, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) has also condemned these “barbaric” attacks against fellow Africans.

NUNW secretary-general Job Muniaro yesterday said it was disappointing and frustrating to hear that Africans were being killed and mistreated in South Africa.

He said South Africa was the only place on the continent where such things happened. “Therefore the NUNW strongly condemns these barbaric attacks on fellow Africans.”

Muniaro said the crisis in South Africa was a threat to the entire African economy and could escalate job losses. Therefore, he said, lasting peace must be secured in Africa and peace building must ring in the minds of politicians. “SADC leaders should already have convened a meeting to address the bloody crisis in South Africa and secure our people from this brutality.” The union called upon SADC to immediately convene a meeting to address the crisis. “We urgently need no-nonsense politicians who can take action that speaks louder than words in order to save the lives of our brothers and sisters,” Muniaro said.

“We are calling on leaders to secure long-lasting peace in Africa. Africans must start to respect each other and work hard to protect their vulnerable economies and the growing number of jobless youth. They should avoid civil wars,” said Muniaro.

“Return to peace. People have been fighting for peace for so long and you are destroying it by killing each other. It is horrible,” he admonished South Africans.

According to him it is usually innocent people, such as women and children, who are affected by these attacks. “It is a worrisome situation. The financial crisis that this creates will create hardship and difficult sacrifices for Africans.”

He said the growing number of job losses should be cause for concern, but added that suffering does not give anyone the right to kill others.

Muniaro added that a time will come in South Africa where there will be no other Africans left to attack and kill. “You will have killed South Africa's economy and your country will not be able to work with any other country.”

Referring to the retaliation by other African countries against these xenophobic attacks, he said it should be remembered how many cattle are exported to South Africa from Namibia. “We have other markets in Europe where we can export to.”

He added that Namibia and the NUNW were not there to rectify wrongs and would not retaliate by burning the assets of South Africans.

“Instead we will burn the mind-set of those South Africans that they do not want to kill anymore.

“Change your thoughts, apologise and return to the peace you sacrificed for. We must all be in favour of justice for all. We should not forget that Africans need each other. There is no African that does not need another. Why are you killing your niece? If you think you are better by killing another African, you are failing South Africa.”

Since the unrest in South Africa spread from Tshwane to Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni on Sunday, 289 people have been arrested for looting and public violence.

Foreign nationals have been the main target in the unrest, with dozens of shops looted and burned, although South African-owned shops have also been broken into and looted.

The death toll in Gauteng's widespread violence has risen to seven after police confirmed the discovery of two bodies, which were burned beyond recognition

In retaliatory strikes, South African-owned chain stores and trucks have been targeted in other African countries, including Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique.

Meanwhile, the African Union and foreign governments have issued strong formal protests to Pretoria.

Several South African companies with extensive African operations have temporarily closed their establishments after retaliatory attacks by foreigners.

South Africa yesterday announced that it had closed its diplomatic missions in the Nigerian cities of Abuja and Lagos following violence against South African businesses in reprisal for attacks on foreign-owned shops in Johannesburg. Truckers from African countries have warned that South African truck drivers would not be allowed to cross their borders.

The drivers, who blocked some South African truckers from crossing their borders, said it was their way of responding to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

In a video that has now gone viral on social media, the drivers said South African truckers would not be allowed to cross the borders of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania Mozambique, and Congo.

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