EDITORIAL: Xenophobic attacks in S. Africa need firm response from AU

For the last few weeks, news has been dominated by the unrest in Hong Kong following the Government’s move to extradite residents of the former British territory to mainland China for trial.

But the senseless destruction and vandalism seem to have worked as the Government has now announced it was backing off the idea and  now the cameras are turning away.

In London it was all about Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Brexit mayhem he was unleashing on the House of Commons and things were not going as he wanted, but he remained in the news all the same.

In the Americas, Hurricane Dorian was wreaking havoc on the Bahamas but all eyes were on Florida and other southeastern US states that were in the path of the storm. The main news was that President Trump had cancelled an official trip to Poland to deal with the storm and patiently waited for Dorian while playing golf. At the same time, his vice president was also staying at one of Trump’s other golf resorts in Ireland.

There was little about the xenophobic attacks in South Africa that have become a regular feature whenever the country is combatting its internal ghosts.

Could it be that the victims are predominantly black Africans?

The attacks are real cans of worms of serious social trouble; camouflaging endemic inequality and passing the blame on poor foreign immigrants trying to eke out a living is a smokescreen.

The Nigerian or Malawian immigrant is not responsible for lack of social protection for many in the shantytowns. The real culprits are sitting back content that discontent has been directed away from their direction

But what is happening in South Africa is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed beyond the sweet coated speeches and declarations. It is time for the African Union to step in and send a serious message to Pretoria. 

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