PRETORIA/LONDON. – Amid confirmation that MTN’s offices in Nigeria’s capital were vandalised by anti-xenophobia demonstrators, the International Relations Department says South Africa’s ambassador has been summoned by that country’s government to explain the attacks on foreigners here.
The cellphone service provider has issued a brief statement calling on people to remain calm and to exercise restraint.
It’s understood their offices in Abuja were vandalised and office equipment was stolen during a protest against attacks on foreigners in South Africa.
International Relations’ Clayson Monyela has confirmed that South Africa’s ambassador to Nigeria has been summoned to that country’s foreign ministry for a meeting.
“They want to get an understanding of these sporadic attacks in South Africa as reported on some foreign and South African nationals. We did explain that these are sporadic criminal attacks.”
The Nigerian Union of South Africa’s Emeka Collins says they are worried about the anti-immigrant march in Pretoria today, which has been given the green light.
“We hope the protest march tomorrow will not give leverage to setting criminal elements to take the law into their own hands. We have confidence in the authority.”
The police say they will not tolerate any violence.
Nigerians in Abuja reportedly staged an anti-xenophobia protest outside the South African embassy in the capital Abuja on Wednesday, calling on authorities to “stop attacks on African nationals”.
According to BBC Live, the protest, organised by members of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, urged the South African government to urgently address the situation.
The protesters carried placards such as “South Africa we say stop killing our people” and chanted slogans denouncing the attacks, the report said.
“We are doing this because of the killings taking place in South Africa, we want to express our displeasure over that and urge them to take measures to address the situation.
“We presented a petition in which we want them to call their people to order. We have foreigners here and it will not be good if there is reprisal attacks that will not make world a peaceful place to live,” one of the protesters was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba yesterday warned unethical businesses that employ illegal immigrants that they are going to be dealt with harshly and the managers will be arrested for not adhering to the law.
“Companies, businesses: Be warned. We are coming for you. We will charge them, there’s no doubt. The manger will be charged. Often times, we focus on the undocumented employee and not the company,” he said.
They would deport the illegal immigrants, he said, but the businesses would not be left unscathed.
Gigaba made an example of a large supermarket group that had employed 63 people without documentation.
Three shops were found to have employed undocumented immigrants, and two managers were arrested, while another manager was not on duty at the time. SA labour laws require businesses to employ a minimum of 60 percent South Africans.
“But we are not saying businesses should only employ 60 percent of South Africans. Go higher,” Gigaba said, briefing media in Cape Town.
Businesses were a critical factor in dealing with some of the challenges facing communities, such as Rosettenville, he said. — News Agencies.