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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tensions remained high on Tuesday, with local media reporting that about 2,000 armed migrants were engaged in a tense stand-off with police in Durban
Foreign nationals gesture after clashes broke out between a group of locals and police in Durban on April 14 ,2015 in ongoing violence against foreign nationals in Durban, South Africa. (Photo/AFP)
Foreign nationals gesture after clashes broke out between a group of locals and police in Durban on April 14 ,2015 in ongoing violence against foreign nationals in Durban, South Africa. (Photo/AFP)
ATTACKS against foreigners continued in the South African port city of Durban Tuesday as the Ethiopian community prepared to repatriate the bodies of three of its nationals killed over the last two weeks.
Ephraim Meskele, a leader of the Ethiopian community in Durban, said it was holding a prayer service Tuesday for the three victims, including a man killed when his shop was petrol-bombed on Friday.
About 50 people have been arrested over the violence, in which at least four people have been killed. The police have not confirmed the nationalities of the victims.
The attacks on immigrant-owned shops and homes in Durban’s impoverished townships come three months after a similar spate of attacks on foreign-owned shops in Soweto, near Johannesburg.
Over 1,000 foreigners in Durban have fled their homes and are now living in makeshift camps, under police guard.
Tensions were still running high on Tuesday, with local media reporting that about 2,000 armed migrants were engaged in a tense stand-off with police in the city centre, and looting continuing in townships on the outskirts of the city.
Violence against African immigrants in South Africa is common, with impoverished locals accusing foreigners of taking their jobs and business.
The latest outbreak comes after several high-profile figures—including a son of President Jacob Zuma—made polarising statements against foreigners.
Last month, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, traditional leader of the biggest ethnic group in KwaZulu-Natal province, reportedly said they needed to “pack their bags and leave”.
‘Time bomb’
It was a call supported by Edward Zuma, who told local news agency News24 that South Africa was “sitting on a ticking time bomb of them (foreigners) taking over the country”.
The government has, however, condemned the violence, with several ministers speaking out on Tuesday.
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko called the attacks a form of African “self-hate”, according to News24.
“Some of us find it difficult to think that this is just xenophobic. I think it also represents a particular political problem. You don’t see Australians being chased on the street, you don’t see Britons being chased on the streets,” he said.
There have however been reports of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis being attacked.
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said South Africans “should refuse to be part of the attacks on innocents just because they are foreigners”. (AFP)
Construction workers in a section of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, March 31, 2015.ETHIOPIA, the first country to lose her independence in the present sweep of aggression, has been the first to be liberated. True, the invasion of Manchuria preceded the conquest of Ethiopia by four years; yet even today, a decade after Japan began her attack on China, there is still a Chinese Government in effective possession of a large part of China, engaged in a fight to the finish with the invader. Ethiopia, unlike China, was completely overrun and her independence extinguished. She thus heads the roll of national tragedies, now beyond the dozen mark -- Austria, Albania, Czecho-Slovakia, Poland, the Baltic States, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Jugoslavia and Greece. And this is to say nothing of Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and Thailand, as well as Italy herself, author of Ethiopia's downfall, all of which surrendered their freedom without a fight.

Read more at www.foreignaffairs.com
A construction crane stands among office buildings over the city centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - March 2013Whenever we set up our camera and flapped open our sun reflectors in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, passers-by became curious and eager to help.
But getting them to talk on camera was another matter as in general residents of the city are reticent and keep their views to themselves.
We were filming in Addis Ababa for a programme charting the changes in the country, yet it was only on the flight back to South Africa that I met an Ethiopian willing to be candid.
I found myself seated next to an inquisitive elderly Ethiopian woman, who was chatty despite the early morning departure.
However, she was not so open as to be willing for me to mention her name here.
She wore a green twin-set, leggings and woollen socks with her loafers. After the rigorous security checks, she took the socks off, saying she only wears them to keep her feet clean at the end of the security protocols.
She reminded me a bit of my mother, both caring and bossy all in one person.
During the flight, she cut me a portion of her fruit and insisted that I eat every morsel; her stern gaze suggested that I had no choice.

'Foregone conclusion'

We talked about a lot of things, including my impressions of Nigeria, especially following the ground-breaking presidential election there when the incumbent lost.
She was proud of the manner in which Nigerians had used their vote to make a strong statement about their government.
I replied that perhaps if Ethiopians have strong views about the ruling party - the EPRDF, in power since 1991 - then they could also do the same when elections are held in May.
Supporters of Ethiopia's ruling party
The EPRDF under the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi won a massive majority in 2010
My neighbour dispelled that notion very quickly and whispered that she believes the result is a foregone conclusion.
I argued that surely Ethiopia's democracy is deeper than that, and that many support the government as they are grateful for the development in recent years.
She smirked and told me to open my eyes wider during my next visit.


I was urged to investigate the economic statistics.
They show an economy growing in near double-digits, but about 40% live below the poverty line.
Street children sleeping on a street of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia - 2007
This photo is from 2007, but homeless people are still seen on the streets of Addis Ababa
She reminded me of the beggars who are on the streets of Addis Ababa.
Then I recalled our filming around the city.
There is a clear image of frantic construction taking place, with a monorail, new roads and apartment blocks all being built.
But I also noticed that many of the buildings are empty.
I asked my new friend why she thought this was.
Construction in Addis Ababa
Building work dominates the skyline in Ethiopia
Construction of a railway in Addis Ababa
A new monorail is one of the big buiding projects
Construction in Addis Ababa
But many of the new office and apartment blocks are empty
She reckons the Ethiopian middle-class cannot afford the rents, and that professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, have resorted to using parts of their home as consulting rooms, because they cannot pay for office space.


I wondered why the government was intent on driving capital into these construction projects.
She answers simply that it is about the prestige.
A statue of Kwame Nkrumah, who was the first president of independent Ghana and a founding member of the Organisation of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union, stands outside the headquarters complex of the African Union (AU) - 2013
Ethiopia is proud to host the African Union headquarters
She thinks that as a political and diplomatic leader on the continent, Ethiopia needs to show the economic signs of that position.
And Ethiopia needs to bear the hallmarks of this new-found economic prowess.
These are the thoughts of one individual, but someone who has seen a lot. She lived through the aftermath of the country's Italian occupation, the Marxist Derg regime and now the move towards a free market system and the introduction of democracy.
Her hope is that eventually Ethiopians will speak up and challenge their leaders to ensure that their economic dreams will lead to tangible change.
A foreign national holds a
A foreign national holds a machete to protect himself after clashes broke out between a group of locals and police in Durban, South Africa, on 14 April 2015
At least five people have been killed in a surge of xenophobic attacks in South Africa on 14 April, where locals have been targeting foreigners - mostly African immigrants from Nigeria, Somali, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia - in and around the city of Durban, in the KwaZulu-Natal province. 
According to local media, at least 1,500 foreigners have fled their homes and are now living in makeshift camps.
President Jacob Zuma condemned the violence while police have been deployed to halt the xenophobic attacks. It is believed that more than 40 people linked to the violence have been arrested. Police used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse protesters on 14 April.
While the anti-foreigner violence continues amid fears that the protest is expanding to JohannesburgIBTimes UK looks at the most important things to know about South Africa's worst outbreak of xenophobic violence in recent years. 

Foreigners 'need to pack their bags and leave ' - Why did the protest start? 

Violence against foreigners is common in South Africa. At least four people were killed in Soweto, Johannesburg, in January 2015, following the alleged murder of a South African teenager by a Somalian shopkeeper. The alleged killing sparked violence and three other people were killed while dozens of foreign-owned shops were looted. 

Foreign nationals gesture after clashesThis time, it is believed that violence erupted following alleged comments by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, who said that foreigners need to "pack their bags and leave". Following the comment - which Zwelithini denied he had made - several South Africans took to the streets of Durban and attacked and looted foreign-owned shops and properties. The protesters accused foreign nationals of living in South Africa illegally and of stealing jobs and opportunities. 
Foreign nationals gesture after clashes broke out between a group of locals and police in Durban

Foreigners not willing 'to be prey'  

South Africa's IOL News reported that foreign nationals were ready to retaliate against the attackers and declared they were not willing to "be prey for South Africans".
Nigerians in the Durban Point area built barricades with burning tyres and debris. When interviewed by IOL, they said: "We have nowhere else to go. We can't go back; the sea is behind us, so we have to fight back." 
An angry group of foreigners said: "It's easy; government can just open the border gates and let us go if they don't want us. But they must know that no plane must leave South Africa to come to our countries."

South African and foreign government response 

Religious and political leaders are planning a "Not in Our Name" peace march to commemorate the five victims, which unconfirmed reports say are three Ethiopians and two South Africans, one of whom was a 14-year-old boy. The march will take place on 16 April. 
Malawi announced it plans to repatriate hundreds of its citizens, while members of the Ethiopian community in South Africa said they will hold a vigil for the Ethiopian victims, two of whom are believed to have been killed when their shop was petrol-bombed. 
Ambassadors from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Mozambique, and Malawi met with Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu to discuss actions to protect civilians.  
An immigrant holds a knife, amid clashes between locals and foreign workers in Durban.

South Africa's xenophobia - Not a new phenomenon 

According to some, the xenophobic attacks are part of unresolved issues and a past that South Africans are struggling to forget. 
The Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada Foundations released a joint statement in which they said the latest outburst of violence is the "manifestation of a phenomenon which has been troubling our [South African] democracy for a long time. For too long South Africans in leadership positions have either ignored the crisis or stoked the fires of hatred.
"We call on all South Africans to take responsibility for embracing the hospitality that defines our democratic order and to work together to find solutions to a problem which is destroying lives and bringing South Africa shame internationally."

Similar unrest occurred in 2008 

In 2008, at least 60 people were killed in xenophobic violence in South Africa, prompting some 6,000 people to flee. 
The protest originated in the township of Alexandra, but expanded to neighbouring areas. At the time of the unrest, the Guardian reported that some 50 people were taken to hospital with gunshot and stab wounds after protesters attacked dozens of shops and businesses owned by Zimbabweans in Cleveland, in the south of Johannesburg. 
When interviewed by the BBC, some Zimbabweans said they were willing to return home, despite violence in their country. 
At least 1,140 people were arrested in connection with the violence, while displaced people were moved into temporary refugee camps with the government vowing not to force reintegration and not to deport immigrants found to be living in South Africa illegally.  
Some politicians alleged that the xenophobic violence was politically motivated. The Mali government repatriated some of its citizens while the international community condemned the violence.
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees urged the South African government to halt deportation of Zimbabweans and grant asylum to the immigrants. 
par 2Addis Ababa  (HAN) April 15, 2015 – Public Diplomacy, Regional defense and Maritime security News. The administration of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has asked Parliament for a supplementary budget of eight billion Birr, representing close to five percent of the federal government’s budget for the fiscal year 2014/15.
The Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (MoFED) has made its request for additional budget, attributing deficit it faced to salary adjustment made to public sector employees back in August 2014. Public sector employees were rewarded, across the board, with salary increases between 33pc to 46pc, with the bigger percentage made to lower income groups.
An earlier projected surplus of six billion Birr thought to offset the increase is now found to be insufficient to keep the budget in black. More than double the amount of the originally held surplus is needed to pay for the additional increase in salary of public employees in the federal and regional administrations, according to a document presented to Parliament yesterday. Fortune