South African police disperse anti-immigrant protesters

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The Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, made the call Monday amid reports of renewed violence against Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.

He also said that the South African government had taken measures to ensure that these attacks perceived as hate crimes against Nigerians and other foreign nationals were stopped.

In light of the march by South Africans against foreigners in Pretoria, many living in Joburg fear for their lives and, as a result, have shut down their shops indefinitely.

The Nigerian Union in South Africa (Nusa) confirmed on Tuesday that Nigerian homes and businesses in Pretoria West had been attacked recently.

The interior minister added that more than 33,000 people were deported from South Africa during the last financial year and urged South Africans to desist from xenophobic violence. Police had to use tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to try to disperse the groups.

"If they were, we would not have such a high number of foreign nationals who have successfully integrated into communities all over the country". But smaller incidents occur frequently in South African townships.

The main group behind the protests, Mamelodi Concerned Residents, has blamed foreign nationals for taking jobs and accused them of being involved in prostitution rings and drug cartels, accusations denied by immigrant communities.

Olunloyo, an upholsterer from Lagos, founded the online community forum Lagos To Jozi to help Nigerians living in South Africa access information on "how to live, study or earn a living legitimately within the Republic".

Police disperse angry protesters
Police disperse angry protesters at one of the locations

"Those who commit crime should not be labelled according to nationality, but because they are criminal", he said.

Nigerians have now taken to social media calling for a boycott of South African businesses.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has condemned an ongoing violence against foreigners.

This is in reaction to the fresh surge of xenophobic attacks in the country. "Our people are highly industrious anywhere they are and they have contributed immensely to the progress of South Africa".

The pastor, he said, was also receiving treatment in an hospital.

The group's spokesman, Makgoka Lekganyane, said they were exhausted of jobs going to Nigerians, Pakistanis and Zimbabweans, among other foreign nationals, ahead of South Africans.

"No grievance justifies the violence against foreign nationals", Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberley, who chairs the commission, said in a statement February 21.

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