Relations between South Africa and its neighbours are likely going to continue to sour following the looting of South African owned retail shop Pick n Pay in Lusaka, Zambia.
There are also reports that South African drivers are being barred from crossing the borders into neighbouring countries, with major incidents recorded in Mozambique and Zambia. The retaliatory acts follow a series of xenophobic attacks and riots which occurred in several parts of South Africa.
Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu condemned the ongoing violent attacks against foreigners in South Africa and he also cautioned Zambians to remain calm.
President Lungu said: “I call on Zambians both locally and abroad to remain calm and disengage from acts of violence as they voice out their grievances. There must never come a time when hatred among Africans should appear to be normal.Those preaching hate must stop. Let us pray for peace and unity”.
South African shops being attacked in Zambia. pic.twitter.com/8ch8kkQzyl
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) September 4, 2019
The xenophobic attacks have not only affected regional trade relations but also sports and culture, with Nigerian musicians scheduled to perform in South Africa pulling out, and others vowing to stop visiting South Africa in the future. Nigeria singer Tiwa Savage announced that she cancelled her impending performance in South Africa. Tiwa Savage was scheduled to perform at the DSTV Delicious Festival set to take place at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Midrand on 21 and 22 September 2019.
Zambia cancels football match against South Africa
Zambia also announced that it has cancelled a football match between its national men’s team Chipolopolo and South Africa.The two were scheduled to clash at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on Saturday, but the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has cancelled the match.
In a statement, FAZ said the game was called off “in view of the prevailing security concerns in South Africa. FAZ general secretary Adrian Kashala has relayed the message to the South African Football Association (SAFA) about the decision”.
Reactions in Nigeria
The brutal attacks on foreign-owned businesses in parts of South Africa have sparked a wave of angry reactions, with Nigeria leading the way in taking a firm diplomatic stance against South Africa.
Nigerians also took to the streets of Lagos, and other parts of the country, destroying and looting what they suspected to be South African owned shops, businesses and properties in retaliatory attacks.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo condemned the xenophobic attacks and told the press, “The lives and livelihood of Nigerians living in South Africa is once again being destroyed with such wantonness and with such carelessness and recklessness”.
Prof. Osinbajo went on to say, “We certainly intend to take this up with the authorities in South Africa and to ensure that this sort of thing does not repeat itself”.
Following the retaliatory attacks in Nigeria, MultiChoice said it has shut its offices and branches in Nigeria and Zambia. Mobile giant MTN has also closed stores and service centres in Nigeria, and Shoprite which was affected by the riots confirmed that a number of stores in South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia were unable to open due to the protests.