The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has said Ghanaians in South Africa are paranoid over xenophobic attacks in some parts of that country. “In Mamelodi, a suburb in Pretoria, there is general fear and apprehension within the various foreign communities including that of Ghana following a decision by a local to organize an anti-foreigner march today to protest at what he referred to as South African nationals being tired of enslavement and being deprived of job opportunities in their own country,” she added. She told Ghana’s Parliament on Friday that, although no Ghanaian has been affected in the recent attacks, her outfit has adopted stringent measures to ensure the safety of Ghanaians living in South Africa. There have been recorded cases of attacks on non-South Africans in recent times. Tensions have heightened in that country following a group calling itself Mamelodi Concerned Residents’ notice of organizing a march today, Friday, in protest of what it said was foreigners taking over their businesses. Several calls by leaders in South Africa as well as opinion leaders for calm have proved futile.
A similar incident occurred in South Africa in 2015.
The Foreign Affairs minister further disclosed to the legislators some safety measures Ghana’s mission in South Africa had put in place:
- The mission has visited many shops owned by Ghanaians in the sunny suburb of Pretoria informing them of the development and the need to activate all early warning signals using social media groups to provide information in case of any attacks.
- [Ghanaian]Pretoria shop owners have been directed to close their shops immediately the threats are deemed as eminent.
- The Ghanaian community in Mamelodi where the march against foreigners will take place today have also been advised not to open their businesses today and remain indoors while awaiting all clear signals from community leaders and the mission.
- The mission has also written a note verbale to the department of international relations and corporation requesting their continued protection of Ghanaian nationals and all non-South African nationals as well as their businesses.
- The mission in addition to its official numbers introduced a 24-hour mobile hotline [0027 (0) 713098034] that can also be accessed via social media including Whatsapp and telephone. The number is exclusively for any information relating to the xenophobic attacks and so far we have had a few calls.