Nigerians living in South Africa have dismissed the threat of deportation by the opposition party in the country, the Democratic Alliance (DA), saying that they are not afraid of deportation, as the DA is not capable of winning the forthcoming election in the ‘Rainbow country.’ Sunday Telegraph last week reported exclusively that the main opposition party threatened to deport Nigerians and other nationals, who migrated into the country illegally, adding that the ‘Giant of Africa” did the same to Ghanaians in the early 80s. “There is no such apparent threat and panic,” Iyke Okechukwu, a Nigerian resident in Johannesburg, said in an interview with the Newspaper.

He gives his reasons. “The two major opposition parties to the ruling ANC (African National Congress) are DA and EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters), they do not and can never form any coalition on the national level due to their ideological differences.

“The DA is seen as prowhite and as a further extension of the white monopoly capital, even by the EFF (which is led by Julius Malema). “One of the EFF’s main political agenda is the mass return of land without compensation to the black populace (just as the ANC) and the equity redistribution of the economic wealth of the country between whites and blacks (which the Democratic Alliance is greatly opposed to). Not until they do that will they be able to break the national dominance of the ANC. “Neither can the other multifarious parties which different manifestos and ideologies run from the sublime to the ridiculous, form any meaningful coalition that can ruffle a feather.

“The best these parties can achieve is to garner pockets of votes, especially in their regions of origins, to assure them a seat in Parliament or to run their provincial governments. “The only xenophobic threat to deport foreigners has come from a new, attention-seeking but mushroom party called the ‘African Basic Movement Party’ which has no national affiliate (and which may never get one seat in Parliament).

Other than that, there’s no such obvious threat and panic in that regard.” Also, weighing in, a Pretoria- based businessman, Iyk Nwafor, admitted that there was fear and panic among Nigerians in the country, though he was not bothered. He said: “Well, there is seriousness in what they are saying. Though it is not happening everywhere in South Africa but a place like Cape Town, it’s horrible there.

“People might be scared but I am not bothered because I know that it will not be implemented the way they have been saying it. There is tension anyway because they don’t give information before attacking us. South Africans don’t like Nigerians at all but there is no cause for alarm; these people are horrible here,” he said. Praise Kim, a pastor, said everybody is living in fear of uncertainty as nobody knows what will be the outcome of the election.

“We have seen a number of deportations here and unfortunately, these people don’t want to regularise most Nigerians’ immigration papers,” he said. “We are panicky because this is not our home country and even our government cannot fight for us. So, everybody is being careful and praying God that the opposition will not win the election. God will frustrate them. “But I must add that our people are also causing problems for us, while moving on the streets, you have to watch your back for safety,” he added.

But in what appears to be lending credence to Okechukwu’s stance, DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, Solly Msimanga, advised Nigerians who desire to come to South Africa and those that are already there to avoid cutting corners in their bid to live legally in the country.

In his words: “Look what we want our people to do and when I say our people, I mean whether Nigerians, Liberians, wherever you are coming from, we are saying don’t cut corners and look for people who will say to you ‘give us $100 or Euros to help you get documentation to South Africa.’ Please follow direct processes for the legal documents.” Msimanga, in an interview with Sunday Telegraph, stressed that if any of the offices of South Africa is giving foreigners a hard time, they should come to the office of DA, make contact with them as he promised that the office would assist them.

“This is because we know that many of the South African authorities are cutting corners and are involved in corruption. We want people to come to our country but we want them to come legally so that they can enjoy what South Africa has to offer. “We have business people that are here, engineers and doctors and they are contributing positively to the South African economy.

Those are the kind of people we want to attract to our country. We don’t want criminals coming into our country, we don’t want those who are cutting corners,” he warned. Buttressing his point, Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, said the grouse of South Africans with foreigners is that they don’t see the government doing anything.

“What we are saying is that government must be seen to be correcting these illegalities so that people do not take laws into their hands. So we are saying that before you blame people who are already here, fix yourself first as a government, fix the borders, fix the offices where people are coming into the country, so that people that are here will know that they are legal residents, that’s why we need to correct our own mistakes and stop blaming people,” he said.

He said South Africa is inviting people of the continent and people of the world to come into the country because without the people of the world coming into South Africa, the country cannot be what it should be.

“But we are saying come in legally and respect our laws. It’s the same thing with anywhere you go; you have to respect the laws of the land because that is what the constitution demands.

“Today, I challenge you South Africans, I want to be able to go out and buy something from a shop run by someone I don’t know. In a few days, South Africa will be celebrating 25 years of independence. As youths what are you going to be celebrating? For us as DA, we want our borders to be under control. Today black youth in this country have got a better chance to be drug addicts, go to jail, or being killed, instead of being a doctor or lawyer and so on.”

By Johnson Ayantunji, Chijioke Iremeka, and Esther Bakare / New Telegraph

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Nigerians in South Africa
Nigerians in South Africa 2007 posts

We are about democracy, human rights, public opinion, political behavior, civil rights and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries.

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