Xenophobic South Africans are attacking and displacing immigrants, mostly from Malawi, away from their homes. Among those left for dead is Miriam Mussa who hails from Malawi. She is sleeping in the open with her baby without any blankets.
The victims are mostly blaming politicians from the ruling ANC who are playing the Trump Card to drum up support. Government officials are reportedly using immigrants as a scapegoat for South Africa’s socioeconomic upheavals, thereby fueling up the xenophobic attacks just like Donald Trump had done during his US presidential campaign .
“This sends South Africans a message that we are not welcome. And the only way they can communicate that is by attacking us,” said a man who asked not to be named over fears he could be targeted.
Houses and shops owned by immigrants from various African countries have been looted and burnt. There have also been reports of cars being torched.
The South African police say “cases of public violence, arson, damage to property and looting [are] opened ” and that they are monitoring the situation.
Stranded Malawians who have been forced to vacate their homes due to the attacks are currently sleeping on an open space near Sydenham police station in Durban.
“It was about 1am on Monday when we were forced out of our rented rooms. I was with my baby and my husband. Even though they did not hurt us after seeing that we had a small baby, they allowed us to leave with only the clothes we were wearing. We watched them as they took out all our furniture,” Miriam Mussa told one of the South African publications.
She said that her family has been sleeping for two days in the open, and her daughter has become sick. “I think it’s because she is too weak to withstand the kind of cold we are exposed to. It could also be caused by the fact that we are starving here,” said Mussa, who came to South Africa three years ago to look for a job. She found one as a domestic worker in the area.
Another Malawian, John Valleta, said the attackers told them that they were angry because foreign nationals were taking their jobs, a strategy believed to have powered up US President Trump into office.
“They said we were a bad influence on the employers because we accept cheap labour yet we accept long hours and loads of work. They said for this reason employers preferred employing foreigners and that angers South Africans because it left them with no jobs. They wanted us to go back to our countries and they were going to make that happen the hard way.”
He said despite sleeping in the open they still felt less safe because they don’t know what the attackers are planning next.
Writing to us on Facebook messenger, Wanangwa Smart, said: “Admin l would like to know if in Malawi south Africans are there here there are treating us badly as we are not Africans could please shade more light this so callef d south African rulers that an african in Africa is not aforeighner [sic]”.
The Malawi government is yet to comment.