Some protesters yesterday delivered a memorandum to the Nigerian Embassy in South Africa to protest against alleged human trafficking and other criminal activities of some immigrants, particularly Nigerians.
The march to the Nigerian Embassy trended on social media with the hashtags: #23SeptemberCleanSA and #PutSouthAfricansFirst, sparking a conversation about the ongoing protests against immigrants in South Africa.
Frustrations amongst citizens, including a sense of helplessness with increased corruption allegations within government, and steady economic decline, have resulted in some South Africans turning to immigrants with suspicion.
The protesters have carried on with their march in Pretoria on Wednesday, with the group protesting against criminal activities allegedly committed by Nigerian and Zimbabwean nationals. They marched from Church Square, in Pretoria’s central business district to the Nigerian Embassy in Arcadia, to hand over a memorandum.
The protests have prompted responses from Twitter users including the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) MP Phumzile Van Damme said the anger against immigrants was “misguided”.
“I understand and appreciate the frustration. All I am saying is that I am against charlatans like Sfiso Gwala who use your pain for their personal gain. The anger at foreigners is misguided. It is a government that has failed you, not foreign nationals,” she said.
Earlier, Nigerian Citizens Association in South Africa (NICASA) had condemned the planned protest against its members.
NICASA President, Ben Okoli, condemned the describing it as an incitement to provoke another rounds of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Okoli said the University of Cape Town had carried out an investigation and found out that the group was out to incite foreign nationals living in the country, including Nigerians, via hate speeches.
“The published research put the South African government on notice over the actions of this group known as, ‘Action For Change’.