African countries are speaking out in protest against South African xenophobia and a far-reaching economic impact is already being felt, SABC reports.
Artists such as BigNuz, Kelly Khumalo and Cassper Nyovest had concerts cancelled in Zimbabwe and London as a result of the attacks, according to IndependentOnline.
Local businesses fear the violence will have negative impact on South African businesses operating elsewhere in Africa.
The South African government warned on Friday that South African nationals and companies in other countries could suffer a backlash as a result of the attacks on foreigners in recent weeks, IndependentOnline reports.
“The impact of attacks has far reaching implications on our economic, social and relations with the continent and the world,” Minister Jeff Radebe said during a briefing at the Cabinet’s regular fortnightly meeting.
“South African companies who are running successful businesses in the continent who help to contribute to our revenue and sustain our economy may suffer the same fate,” Radebe said, according to IOL.
In Mozambique, CNN reports that South African energy and chemical giant Sasol was temporarily returning about 340 South Africans to South Africa “as a precautionary measure,” Sasol spokesman Alex Anderson said.
Mozambican employees of Sasol service providers were concerned about reported violence against Mozambicans and other foreign nationals in South Africa and protested the presence of South African employees in Mozambique, according to CNN.
Machete-armed residents burned down shops owned by foreigners Friday in Johannesburg and immigrants carrying bricks accused police of not doing enough to protect them.
In Durban, two foreigners and three South Africans died in the violence, and at least 112 people were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal, CNN reports. A sixth death was reported Wednesday.
Terrified immigrants sought sought refuge at police stations in major cities.
Jean-Pierre Lukamba, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said xenophobia — irrational fear of people from other countries — is institutionalized in South Africa.
“Every day, migrants are living in this fire. It’s not just attacks. It’s institutionalized xenophobia,” he told CNN. “The government must do something. Those people aren’t just mad for no reason. They want electricity, they want jobs, they want water.”
The South African Cabinet appealed to individuals, communities and organisations to join in the fight against xenophobia and remember that several African countries helped South Africa in its struggle for liberation, IOL reports.
“Fellow African countries did not only host our people, they also contributed resources and some paid the ultimate price and lost their own citizens in the course of South Africa attaining democracy,” Radebe said.
The government was caught by surprise in the recent xenophobic attacks, Radebe said. The government thought the tension had abated after the attacks of 2008, IOL reports.