IN WHAT human rights experts say is a definite precursor to Afrophobic violence against black foreigners, ultra-nationalist pressure groups in South Africa have warned foreigners particularly Zimbabweans, Nigerians, and Mozambicans to leave the country forthwith.
Some of the angry protesters were this Friday filmed carrying banners inscribed ‘Put South Africa First, demanding the immediate removal of the black foreigners from the country.
The foreigners are accused of being rapists, drug pushers and of grabbing most formal and informal jobs.
International non-governmental organization and human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that the #PutSouthAfricansFirst campaign could lead to xenophobic violence against foreigners and immigrants.
Watch the video below captured yesterday by Voice of America
The warning was given by Dewa Mavhinga, the Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch, as the #PutSouthAfricansFirst campaign seems to be gathering momentum on social media.
On Monday, the issue went viral when a Twitter user referred to a Zimbabwean waiter as an ‘alien’ and said that she had refused to served by a non-South Africa at Wimpy’s restaurant. This led to some social media users to advocate for boycotts of restaurants and businesses which employ foreigners.
Said Mavhinga: “…could easily fuel xenophobic violence in communities that are accustomed to committing xenophobic violence with little or no action from the law enforcement officials to hold accountable those responsible.
“It does not matter that #PutSouthAfricansFirst movement claims that it is not xenophobic and is not calling for violence against foreign nationals. What is more important is how its message will be received and acted upon in the communities that are already primed for violence against migrants.”
Mavhinga’s comments appear to have riled some of the #PutSouthAfricansFirst proponents who attacked him saying that his commentary was biased and one-sided.
Some even said that as a Zimbabwean citizen, Mavhinga should be escorted back to Zimbabwe so that he can deal with the human rights violations occurring there. – Zimbabwe Voice ■