Members of Parliament (MPs) have called for the boycott of South African goods in protest against continuous xenophobic attacks by South Africans on innocent African migrants despite the fact that the country is an active member of the African Union (AU).
The Pan-African Parliament is located in South Africa.
Leading the call for the immediate boycott of that country’s products after the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway had briefed the house on the recent xenophobic attacks on some African nationals in South Africa that has ignited tension across the region – the minority chief whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, said such attacks on fellow Africans had become unbearable and that the only way to register Africa’s strongest abhorrence for such attacks is for all Ghanaians to boycott South African goods.
He said the recent attack was the eighth on fellow African migrants.
He said as a member of the Pan African parliament, he had consistently raised this issue of xenophobic attacks on the floor of that parliament but nothing concrete seemed to have been done by the South African authorities to stop such ‘deadly’ and unfortunate attacks on African nationals.
According to Muntaka, he had already stopped patronising South African products since he raised the issue and wants all Ghanaians to join him in the boycott.
The majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, strongly supported the position taken by the minority chief whip, stressing that it was important for nationals of South Africa to recognise that “all Africa is for all Africans.”
He asked the South African government to take the bull by the horn and quickly nib in the bud “such unwarranted xenophobic attacks on innocent African nationals by South African nationals.”
Madam Ayorkor Botchway had told parliament that the recent attacks had principally been on Nigerians who were thought to be dealing in drugs and operating brothels in Pretoria and Johannesburg, as well as Somalians who own shops in Mamelodi.
“The South African Home Affairs Minister’s attempt at containing the spread of the attacks appears not to have been successful as the xenophobic attacks have spread to the administrative capital,” she indicated.
She said some houses belonging to Nigerians were also burnt in the attack.
According to the Foreign Minister, following the attack and the accompanying rising tension in South Africa, many Ghanaians there are now living in fear and therefore the Ghana government had put in place some measures to help protect them.
She claimed the Ghanaian Mission in South Africa had visited many shops owned by Ghanaians in the Sunnyside suburb of Pretoria and informed them to adhere to all early warning systems, using social media groups to provide information in advance of any proposed attacks.
The minister indicated that Ghanaians in Mamelodi where protest march by South Africans against foreigners was supposed to be held yesterday had been advised not to open their businesses on that day, remain indoors and await all clear signals from community leaders and the Mission to open their shops.
“The Mission has also written a Note Verbale to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) requesting their continued protection of Ghanaian nationals and all South African nationals, as well as their businesses,” the minister dislclosed.
Ayorkor Botchway said in addition to that the Ghanaian Mission in South Africa had introduced a 24-hour mobile phone hotline that can also be accessed.
She said so far per the ministry’s checks, no Ghanaian had been affected by the attacks.
Meanwhile, the matter has been referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee by the speaker for an immediate action to be taken.
The chairman of the committee, Patrick Yaw Boamah, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Okaikwei Central, told the media that the committee would immediately meet officials of the South African mission in Ghana and representatives of countries in ECOWAS and all AU members on the matter and the way forward; and if possible undertake a familiarisation trip to South Africa to assess the situation.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr