news

Jan. 19, 2022

OWN CORRESPONDENT

3 min read

Basotho threatened in SA

Basotho threatened in SA

Xenophobic attacks resurface in South Africa

Story highlights

  • Foreigners blamed for stealing jobs and ruining the country
  • The previous attacks were on Nigerians but now all expatriates are targeted

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SOUTH African citizens are threatening to kick out Basotho living in that country, claiming that they along with other foreigners are occupying most their jobs while also ruining their country.

“These are not just threats they are making, on numerous previous occasions they actually carried out the intimidations they made,” said Lerato Nkhetše from the Migrant Workers Association (MWA).

He noted that on previous occasions, the Nigerians were the main targets, adding however that the current threats had now extended to Basotho as well.

“Basotho are making matters worse by getting involved in the looting and vandalism that are taking place in some areas in South Africa. Most of them are not even in that country lawfully as they are either undocumented or working without permits,” Mr Nkhetše also said.

Their fear, he said was that most Basotho were going to lose their jobs in South Africa, plunging their own country further into the high unemployment crisis.

“Several companies are going to be shut down and the rate of crime will escalate with many people out of jobs,” he warned, adding that the dilemma was going to affect both Lesotho and South Africa in many similar ways.

“Our association is seeking intervention from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant stakeholders as this matter will impact negatively on Lesotho and many Basotho.”

Mr Nkhetše appealed to Lesotho nationals living and working in South Africa not to respond with violence as that could aggravate the situation.
He said certain political parties in SA used anti-immigrant rhetoric in the past local government election campaigns which, experts warned would fuel xenophobic violence.

“We are aware that some political parties have focused their campaigns on migrants, blaming them for poor service delivery, which is not true. It only created tension between migrants and the SA nationals,” he said.

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Xenophobic attacks are a recurrent phenomenon in South Africa.

In 2019, several shops and property belonging to African migrants were burnt or looted by locals during the violence that claimed at least a dozen lives.

Nigeria was outspoken in its condemnation of the violence. In 2015, Zimbabwe had to repatriate thousands of its nationals in the aftermath of the xenophobic attacks.

At least 62 people died in xenophobic attacks that rocked South Africa in 2008. LeNA
 

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