By Bello Adisa
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC says South Africa’s xenophobic attack on Nigerians and other Africans is a reflection of a failed system of governance which is reflected by the worsening of poverty and unemployment indices.
NLC in a statement by its Deputy President, Issa Aremu condemned the attacks saying the serial xenophobic attacks on innocent African workers are grossly unwarranted, condemnable and unacceptable.
The Labour Union condemn the desperate and reckless actions of the jobless youths of South Africa.
The NLC warned that the unending disconnect between African governments and the governed can lead to the same situation in a country like Nigeria, particularly that statistics from International Labour Organization, ILO shows that both Nigeria and South Africa have high levels of unemployment rates of 23.9% and 24.3% in 2014 respectively.
The statement reads, “The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC hereby joins our counterpart Federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATUU to condemn the reckless violent attacks on African working people and nationals in South Africa with unacceptable resultant avoidable destruction of lives and properties. The xenophobic attack had claimed several lives. The latest round of attacks was reportedly instigated by the Zulu King in the Kwazulunatal region in South Africa. It has since spread to other commercial cities like Durban and Johannesburg. Kindly note that similar attacks in January this year claimed several lives. In January, looters burned businesses owned by foreigners.
“In 2008, Seven years ago, in Johannesburg, anti-immigrant violence claimed many innocent lives. Most of the victims were Zimbabweans who had fled repression and dire economic circumstances. As many as 200 people were arrested on various charges, including rape, murder, robbery and theft.
“These serial xenophobic attacks on innocent African workers are grossly unwarranted, condemnable and unacceptable.
“Right to work is right to life. We believe that African workers have a right to seek legitimate work anywhere in the continent based on the dream and ideals set by the founding fathers such as Kwame Nkruma, Julius Nyerere, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nelson Mandela among others.
“The xenophobic attacks in South Africa is a reflection of the crisis of governance in Africa as reflected by the worsening poverty and unemployment rate in the continent.
“The ILO harmonized unemployment rate refers to those who are currently not working but are willing and able to work for pay, currently available to work, and have actively searched for work.
“The desperate and reckless actions of the jobless youths of South Africa are not unconnected with the unending disconnect between the governments and the governed in Africa. What is happening in South Africa can happen in Nigeria. According to the ILO both Nigeria and South Africa have high levels of unemployment rates of 23.9% and 24.3% in 2014 respectively. As many as 20,000 people have died in the Mediterranean sea en route to Europe.
“It is a clear indication of the level of bad governance going on everywhere in the continent.
“It is a very sad development that at a time the other continents are forging unity and economic integration, Africans are killing Africans in constant reckless xenophobic attacks.
“The Constitutive Act of the Africa Union (AU) launched in 2002 by the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was INSPIRED by the noble ideals which guided the founding fathers of our Continental Organization and generations of Pan-Africanists in their determination to promote unity, solidarity, cohesion and cooperation among the peoples of Africa and African States. One notable objective of the AU is to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.
“We hereby call on workers and millions of jobless youths to turn their anger on their government who have abandoned their duty to wealth and jobs creations and welfare for their citizens. To this extent NLC and COSATUU will partner to engage our governments on job creations that must start with re-industrialization of the continent.
“We therefore call on the African Union to prevail on the South African authorities to take immediate measures to protect and safeguard the lives and properties of migrants and indeed all nationals resident in South Africa and ensure that real compensations are paid to the families of all who lost their family members and relations and also for the loss of properties.
“It is time that Governments on the continent are compelled by their citizens to work for the common good of the people. In this direction, we will liaise with our counterpart in South Africa to join in the struggle to ensure that migrant workers do not suffer irresponsible losses anymore,”