World Bulletin / News Desk
A major consumer association in Malawi has called for a boycott of South African products in response to mob attacks against African migrants in the country.
"We will not allow them to open the shops today," John Kapito, Executive Director of the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama), told The Anadolu Agency on Friday.
"As you can see the planned boycott of South African-owned shops—Shoprite, Game and PEP— will proceed today as planned," he said.
The call has prompted police and the military to beef up their presence inside South African-owned shops.
According to Kapito, some Malawians have refrained from going into South African-owned shops in solidarity with Malawians being attacked in South Africa.
Organizers have called on Malawians not to patronize South African food franchise Debonair Pizza and Steers.
Other institutions with links to South Africa such as Old Mutual, Nedbank and Standard Bank, however, are operating normally.
In recent weeks, South Africa has seen mounting anti-immigrant violence that has mostly targeted migrants from other African countries.
The violence began earlier this month in Durban, where mobs descended on the homes and shops of a number of foreign migrants.
The victims were accused of stealing jobs from native South Africans, committing crimes, and putting a burden on the country's social services.
At least seven people have been killed so far in the violence, which has since spread to parts of Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city.
The Malawian government said that it does not sanction the boycott of South African products.
"Let us give dialogue a chance with South African authorities," government spokesperson Kondwani Nankhumwa told AA by phone.
"The president [Peter Mutharika] stated a few days ago that he has opened communication lines with his South African counterpart President Jacob Zuma on this matter within the Southern African Development Community framework," Nankhumwa said.
However, most Malawians interviewed by AA have supported the boycott.
Francis Moyo said the boycott is meant to send a strong message to South African authorities that they must tell their citizens to stop the attacks.
"We are angry, we feel insulted, we feel disgusted that South Africans who we call brothers and sisters can stab us in the back,” Moyo told AA.
“To show them that we are angry, we are not buying any of their products today,” he added.
Medson Dalira said the boycott was not meant to hurt shop owners but to demonstrate that as a country "we are very concerned with xenophobic attacks."
"Today, we are showing the world that South Africa cannot do business with itself. It needs neighbors to thrive economically," Dalira said.
Malawi is one of the highest consumers of South African products and services.
Malawians import vegetables, meat products, clothes, furniture, groceries and other household items from South Africa.
The Malawian government has repatriated 3,200 nationals from South African since the anti-immigrant violence began three weeks ago.
Hundreds of Malawians trek to South Africa every year in search of jobs. A majority of these migrants travel without proper documents.Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Nisan 2015, 14:53