Governance expert, Dr Eric Oduro Osae has called on the African Union to bring all African leaders together to find a solution to the recurring xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Speaking on JoyNews’ current affairs show ‘Newsfile’, Dr Osae noted that African leaders must educate their citizens so they understand the concept of living in a global village.
“What I want AU to do now is to bring the leaders together and get the leaders to develop a comprehensive road, medium to short term, towards engaging and sensitizing their people to understand the concept of globalization and the fact that we live in a global village. That education has not gone down well with a lot of people,” he noted.
He also mentioned that the AU’s role is to let South African’s know that no African is a foreigner.
He said “some of the people in South Africa still live in the Apartheid era. When I was young, I stayed with them at the international students’ hostel… we hosted them well and we lived together. Within that period there was no foreigner, we treated South Africans, Namibians as Ghanaians. Today why are you treating other people as foreigners. That concept must be explained to them”.
Dr Osae further stated that the South African government also has a role to play in this matter.
“It’s about the government of south Africa sensitizing, educating and explaining things to its citizens that at this point in time we are a global village, we are one continent but one country. It should be easy for somebody to move from South Africa to any other country and do business and do well in an atmosphere of freedom but if these things continue then what invariably you’re telling us is that we should be able to protect our territorial boundaries which is not the best.”
A taxi driver was allegedly shot dead in Pretoria last week when he confronted foreign nationals thought to be selling drugs to young people causing reprisal attacks against other African nationals in the country.
Some say foreigners are blamed for taking people’s jobs, others say they are blamed for pushing drugs.
The attacks on foreign stores began a day after South African truckers started a nationwide strike on Sunday to protest against the employment of foreign drivers.
It comes at a time of high unemployment and some South Africans blame foreigners for taking their jobs.
The unemployment rate in South Africa is nearly 28%, the highest since the labour force survey was introduced 11 years ago.
The government minister responsible for small business development told BBC Newsday that the rioters “feel there are other Africans coming into the country and they feel these Africans are taking our jobs”.