Malawians rank among the top five dominating African immigrants in South Africa, where there is xenophobic attacks targeting foreigners who are being accused of snatching jobs and engaging in drug trafficking.
Ruling African National Congress (ANC) has, on its website, released statistics sourced from United Nations as per research of 2017 indicating that Malawi is placed fifth with 102,327 nationals residing in South Africa, Zimbabweans top the list at 649,385, seconded by Mozambicans at 381,386, followed by Lesotho and Namibia who are at 312, 537 and 174,043 respectively.
However, the number of Malawians could be bigger as most are illegal immigrants.
The statistics show that as of 2017, South Africa had two million Africans, while those from Europe and Asia totaled 548, 654.
Reacting to the statistics, policy expert Rafik Hajat accused the South African government and its people of having a negative attitude towards fellow Africans.
“Whether we like it or not a majority of us Africans have what is called the colonial hangover, even worse for South Africa. When it comes to the African context, tribalism comes in. We are all ethnocentric which translates into xenophobia when economic challenges are faced,” he said.
He challenged the South African government to lift its people out of poverty and unemployment as a way of taming the alleged growing resentment against fellow Africans.
“South Africans have a high degree of entitlement they expect everything from the government, in their thinking they fought for liberation and they are suffering, while foreign Africans did not suffer for what they are enjoying and then the anger becomes too much. So that what happens if there is too much dependency and your need are not met the reaction is against your neighbor who is doing well,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government has confirmed that 113 Malawians have been displaced in the attacks and are being kept in temporary shelters in Katlehong Town.