South Africa:  Attacks on Alleged Drug Criminals and Law Enforcement

It happened in 2015. It was the year the whole world was left horrified, following the horrendous slaughtering of foreigners in South Africa. Two years later,  the heinous attacks against foreigners are audaciously taking place yet again in South Africa. Like in the previous case, the targets of the attackers are foreigners; but this time, most of these foreigners are mainly Nigerians, whom South Africans have accused of turning their neighbourhoods into a drug haven.

According to the accusation, the targeted foreigners are not only using their rented houses as drug havens, they equally use girls, some ”as young as nine” as prostitutes. Definitely, South Africans have legitimate reasons to reject illegal drug or prostitution businesses, which can lead to social decadents. Therefore,  those criminal minded individuals – foreigners or South Africans alike – must be dealt with seriously, accordingly to the law. However, some believe that the present attacks have some xenophobic undertone. Some foreigners living in South Africa insist that narcotic business is hardly limited to foreigners in the country; many South Africans, they argue, are deeply involved in the illegal business as well. They wonder, therefore,  why these angry South Africans are solely pouring their venom on the foreigners only while leaving their alleged drug criminal “brothers” untouched.  Worse still, some group of people is equally pointing an accusing finger at the South African police as well. They claim that the police is not only corrupt but that they know and protect the big drug criminals – and the attackers as well.

Are there some elements of truth in the accusations? Do allegations explain why these South Africans have decided to take laws into their hands instead of relying on the due process of law?  Could the police corruption allegations explain the audacity and impunity of the attackers, who might have police protection behind them?

Sadly, if the attacks on foreigners in South Africa continue, many South African companies (like MTN, Shoprite, Vodacom, Spar etc.) in other parts of the world might, unfortunately, pay a big price. Recently, angry Nigerians descended on the MTN building in Abuja and destroyed properties belonging to the company. While every right thinking individual must strongly condemn such a retributive attack on the MTN properties, it goes a long way in showing how those attacks in South Africa could have a chain reaction and grave repercussions.

Undeniably, South Africa is a beautiful country – perhaps, one of the most beautiful in Africa with a lot of tourist potentials. Therefore, the government of President Zuma must do much more to maintain the beauty of the great country. This includes, but not limited to using the police and other law enforcement agencies to take a strong stand against drugs and other crimes – whether committed by foreigners or otherwise. Likewise, if the government of South Africa cannot put the attacks on foreigners in their country under control and judiciously punish those criminals – from drug merchants to human traffickers as well as their South African attackers –   millions of potential tourists and investors (and their millions of dollars) might be systematically driven away from the country.

Definitely, South Africa deserves better.

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