By Biruktayet Bihon
September 5, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned the heinous act of violence and looting of properties perpetrated against foreigners including Ethiopians living in South Africa.
In statement published yesterday, the Ministry has expressed appreciation for the strong response made by the Government of South Africa.
“We are encouraged by the statement of the President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa, in denouncing these acts of violence and his promise to arrest perpetrators and bring them to justice,” the ministry said in the Statement.
The ministry in its announcement also stated Ethiopia would like to see continued and robust measures taken by South African authorities to contain the violence and ensure the safety of not only Ethiopians but all Africans.
It has also been reported that the Ethiopian embassy in Pretoria is closely working with South African authorities and members of local communities to address the situation.
The looting of foreign-owned shops in South Africa is becoming a daily occurrence.
Even though many agree the act is reflection of xenophobia, the biggest question is why black South Africans are attacking other Africans.
South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to have diverse society and is home to many immigrants. However, according to close observers, the unrest in recent years arose largely due to an immigration issue.
According to reports, the unemployment rate in South Africa is nearly 28% and this places huge pressure on the lower end of the social ladder who are even more unemployed than the rest.
Most black South Africans claim their work is being taken away by immigrants across the continent. But many say xenophobia is just an excuse for acts of violence.
In recent xenophobic attacks, many Africans have been attacked and even some have died. Various African governments have so far condemned these abominable acts of violence.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria said he was deeply concerned about the situation, and also sent a delegation to meet with Ramaphosa over the attacks. Buhari is due to travel to South Africa next month.
In a statement, the Zambia High Commission in Pretoria advised Zambian truck drivers to avoid working in South Africa, saying they have faced "physical attacks and threats from their South African counterparts."
The Government of South Africa on its part has called for the arrest of those involved in a spate of attacks targeting foreign-owned businesses in the country.
Ramaphosa said in a statement that he had convened a security meeting with law enforcement agencies to stop "these acts of wanton violence."
He said there was no justification for the attacks and warned that violence on foreign businesses could trigger xenophobic attacks against South Africans living abroad.
Despite tremendous effort to combat xenophobic act in South Africa, there seems to be no sign of it stopping soon.
Biruktayet Bihon is Addis Ababa-based contributor for Ezega.com. She can be reached through this form.
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