The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the South African Government to arrest and prosecute those behind the mindless attack on foreigners to prevent further occurrence.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, made the call in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress affirms that the recent February 2017 xenophobic attack like previous ones in 2008 and 2015 is yet another unacceptable and avoidable development.
“We totally condemn it and call on the South African Government to move without further delay to take actions to prevent another occurrence.
“It is unacceptable that foreigners, migrants, refugees and Asylum Seekers are labeled criminals as a justification to subject them to extra-judicial actions.
“NLC considers the South Africa Government’s condemnation of this recent xenophobic attack as a positive action.
Ayuba Wabba, NLC President
“We, however, call on the government to go beyond condemnation to investigate, prosecute and sanction persons, groups or individuals that might have played any role in this mindless attack on foreigners, ‘’he said.
He said if such action was taken a conscious approach to accountability would send a firm signal to other potential xenophobes and xenophobia instigators and participators of the consequences that await perpetrators.
The NLC President said that people, especially migrants, refugees and asylum seekers all over the world are and should be welcomed and not made targets of conscienceless attacks.
Wabba said for Africa and South Africa, the pursuit of togetherness, care, warm reception and hospitality to others are some of the enduring attributes and essence of the Ubuntu spirit.
According to him, it is in this light that the NLC condemns the Dec. 2016 unguided and inciting comments of Mr Herman Mashaba, the Mayor of Johannesburg.
“When he was widely quoted as blaming foreigners for crimes and asking them to leave the city. We consider the Mayor’s comment as careless, uncharitable and combustive.
“Xenophobes find comment such as this as inspiration, especially as it is coming from high and official quarters. We expect that public officials should know better and act wiser, ‘’Wabba said.
He added that African workers and their trade unions would continue to stand for and defend civil liberties of all people, creed and race.
He added that the contribution to humanity and the quest to attain social justice had led to the defeat of Apartheid.
According to him, we never see it as a debt that a liberated South Africa should pay back to the rest of us. Rather, it was a duty to us to stand against injustice anywhere, anytime.
“Yes, it is clear for us to see and know that the ills and effects of apartheid that left not a few people and their communities dehumanized and ravaged.
“This including breeding hate, which is largely still triggering and feeding xenophobic attacks in South Africa. In essence, the vestiges and hang-over of Apartheid must be consciously, systematically, steadfastly dealt with.
“We equally note that democracy and governance are not delivering the anticipated, needed and urgent gains to people, ‘’he said.
Wabba said that endemic poverty remains high among the majority of the people, unemployment among all age groups and gender was growing with the youth and women more affected.
He said Xenophobia thus had become one of the ways that accumulated and growing frustrations find expression. Despondency and hopelessness are on the increase.
“We therefore call on the South African government to do a thorough interrogation of xenophobia within her borders and to take progressive measures to rein it in.
“We also ask the government to muster effective protection for foreigners. We are of the view that simply labelling people as xenophobes will not serve any useful outcome.
He called also called on African countries to demonstrate responsive, responsible and accountable stewardship to their people as ways to mitigate the growing frustration and despondency among the people.