BNFYL calls for recalling of Batswana students in SA

The Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) has slammed Botswana Government for what they termed indecisive action in protecting its citizens in South Africa where xenophobic attacks are ongoing.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, BNFYL Secretary General Arafat Khan said, “We are disturbed by lack of decisive action from our Government as to what to do in midst of what is happening in South Africa. We are aware that our students, mainly those residing in Durban have been neglected by Government. We call on the Government of Botswana to put the lives of its citizens first and evacuate our students who are trapped in this unsafe situation back to Botswana until the situation normalizes.”

Khan said the Youth League is deeply saddened by the recent attacks perpetuated by some South African citizens against fellow Africans.  He said the violence that is targeted at foreign nationals is an indictment on the whole of Africa. “The loss of lives and injuries suffered by our brothers from other African countries at the hands of some intolerant and criminal minded South Africans is totally unjustifiable and must be condemned by all.

The current events in South Africa have shattered the dream of the rainbow nation as formulated by the South African liberation icons such as Nelson Mandela and many others. Having attained independence in 1994, and given its strong economic and political standing in the continent, the repeated xenophobic attacks that are taking place in South Africa show conclusively that South Africa is not ready to provide the much needed leadership in the continent under its current government,” he said.

Khan further called on the relevant African Union structures to carry out proper investigations on the human rights violations that have taken place in South Africa and establish whether the South African Government has done enough to prevent the attacks. He said they are aware of media reports in that country that have singled out some disturbing comments attributed to the Zulu King Zwelithini that called for foreign nationals in that country to leave adding that they had expected that the South African Government would condemn the statements but are disappointed that the South African president, who is the King’s subject, has failed to do so in his recent address to the South African National Assembly

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, on Friday said her Ministry was concerned by the safety of Batswana, especially those studying in South African institutions. She thus advised students to desist from making unnecessary trips or movements into areas hit by the xenophobic attacks.

Dr Venson-Moitoi said that while there are no news of any Motswana hurt in the attacks, “We are pleading with parents whose children are studying in South Africa to help us talk to students to avoid moving around so that they don’t get into trouble. The situation is not safe and we are asking them to take precautions.” She said that her ministry had instructed the Botswana High Commission in South Africa to keep a close eye on the safety of students, and offer them prompt assistance should the situation require. She also advised Batswana to reduce travels to South Africa until the xenophobic attacks situation improves.