STATEMENT ON THE ATTACKS AND VIOLENCE AGAINST FELLOW AFRICANS IN SOUTH AFRICA.
Issued in Gaborone, 5th September 2019.
The Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC) representing 21 national federations in 14 of the 16 SADC countries with a combined membership of about 5 million working men and women, strongly condemns the recent spate of attacks and violence in South Africa against migrants from other African countries.
We are deliberately avoiding to refer to this as xenophobia because the targeted in this regard, are not all foreign nationals in South Africa but rather African migrants in South Africa.
It is saddening that violence and attacks against fellow Africans in South Africa has claimed lives, and property belonging to the African migrants in South Africa and some South African nationals has been looted and in some instances set on fire. These attacks have also forced several other African migrants in South Africa out of their homes and sought refugee elsewhere.
This callous action which is mainly perpetrated by black South African individuals and groups and meted on fellow African brothers and sisters is deplorable and totally unacceptable. These are the same African brothers and sisters whose countries sacrificed a great deal in various ways to support the liberation of the South African people from apartheid regime.
We have also received saddening reports that for the past two days or so in other African countries like Nigeria, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia some citizens have retaliated with similar violence and protests targeting migrant workers, investments and diplomatic missions from South Africa. Such attacks are uncalled for and are equally condemned forth with.
We are therefore pleading with nationals of all African countries to desist from perpetrating such reprisals against migrant workers or investment interests from South Africa in their respective countries.
All this violence against fellow Africans happening in South Africa and the incidences of counter attack being reported in other African countries, are anti-thetical to the ongoing progressive efforts at regional and continental level towards regional integration and African Unity as enshrined in the SADC Protocol on Facilitation of Movement of Persons signed by SADC heads of States in August 2005 and the Africa Union (AU) Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment adopted by AU Heads of States in January 2018.
Bearing in mind that these incidences of violence against African migrants in South Africa keep on recurring since 2008, we implore the Member States at both SADC and AU level to urgently seek for long term and lasting solutions to these attacks against African migrants anywhere in Africa.
As workers, we maintain that one of the major underlying factors behind such resentment, hostility and violence against African migrants in African countries is irregular migration within the SADC region and the continent at large.
We have further contended that the drivers of this irregular migration have been escalation of poverty, inequality, unemployment, underemployment, vulnerable employment (precarious work). Hence the lasting solution on all this lies in the formulation and implementation of alternative macro-economic policy frameworks at national and regional level that are conducive to the creation of decent jobs, structural transformation of the economies and the realization of sustainable livelihoods particularly for the youth.
Our earnest call is that any African should never be regarded as a foreigner anywhere on the African soil. Hence the South African Government and any other AU/SADC member state have a duty and responsibility to provide security and protection to all African migrants in their respective countries.
Finally, SATUCC extends its deepest condolences to the families, relatives and friends of all those who have lost their lives in these attacks and violence.