A Senior Researcher at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, Mmatlou Kalaba has described the frequent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals by South Africans as embarrassing and condemnable.
Concise News reports that Kalaba said this in an interview with NAN on Thursday on the sidelines of the sixth edition of African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) held in Abuja.
The don tendered sincere apology on behalf of his fellow South African brothers and sisters.
“Our government has not been strong enough, in my view, in condemning, arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators and that is something which, not only embarrasses me, but makes me angry,’’ he said.
He said that his anger stemmed from the fact that those voted into power had refused to take concrete action against the illegal act
“Personally, I think until the perpetrators are arrested and people start spending time in jail, then we will see these kinds of things not happening at all.
“As an African, I often do not travel with much confidence and freedom because of what I know my fellow brothers and sisters are doing to other Africans in my country.
“Obviously, you do not expect people to welcome you when they know that in your country, foreigners are generally not welcomed,’’ Kalaba said.
He expressed concern that the acts were perpetrated by a few hoodlums and that severe measures ought to have been taken against them.
“I expect that harsh steps and measures be taken against them to serve as deterrent to those waiting to do the same.
“On this note, I humbly apologise on behalf of what my fellow South African brothers and sisters. It should not be allowed to continue happening.
“I, therefore, hope that government would take the steps it had indicated because we are really doing damage to ourselves, and not just foreigners,’’ he said.
He said that the South African government must remedy the situation by going round the continent apologising, with a promise to take action.
According to Kalaba South African businesses are spread all over the continent, stressing that good conduct and attitudes are expected of them from their clients.
“In a situation where foreign businesses have their origin in South Africa, much should be done to see to it that safety and good neighbourliness prevail.
“It is self-inflicting, as the reverse is the case and this is really bad and sad; hopefully, we will see the end of it,’’ he said.
Kalaba said that he had been a member of the African Association of Agricultural Economists for more than 12 years.
He said that he was at the summit to present papers on what was happening on the continent, with regards to agricultural developments, especially in the area of trade, his area of specialisation.