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Xenophobic attacks: Why are your citizens in South Africa? – President Zuma asks Africa
April 28, 2015 | 1 Comments

Jacob Zuma Jacob Zuma[/caption] SOUTH AFRICA President Jacob Zuma Monday lashed out at Africa governments who “criticise the South African government but their citizens are in our country”, even he took a firm stance against stance on the wave of xenophobic violence that has gripped the country. Addressing the public on Freedom Day at  the Union Buildings South Lawn, Zuma chastised governments who have criticised the South African government for the violence that has claimed seven lives. “As much as we have a problem that is alleged to be xenophobic, our sister countries contribute to this. Why are their citizens not in their countries and are in South Africa?” he asked. This comes in the wake of Nigeria recalling its ambassador to South Africa in protest at the xenophobic violence. Nigeria has summoned Acting High Commissioner Martin Cobham and Deputy High Commissioner Uche Ajulu-Okeke “for consultations” over the “ongoing xenophobia”, Minister of Foreign Affairs Aminu Wali said in a statement on Saturday. Zuma said a frank conversation on illegal immigrants needed to take place within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as the African Union. Zuma mentioned the murder of Mozambican citizen Manuel Jossias—first identified as Emmanuel Sithole—in the Alexandra township. “He used a false name to avoid detection by authorities as he was an illegal immigrant,” he said. Zuma paid tribute to the three South Africans who were killed in the attacks in Durban: Ayanda Dlamini, Msawenkosi Dlamini and Thabo Mzobe, who was 14 years old. He said South Africans were angry, adding; “We need to be cured, we are sick”. “The latest outbreak of violence necessitates more comprehensive action from all of us to ensure that there is no recurrence. We have to address the underlying causes of the violence and tensions, which is the legacy of poverty, unemployment and inequality in our country and our continent and the competition for limited resources,” Zuma said. South Africans need psychological cure He also spoke at length of how violent South African communities are, adding that “we need a psychological cure”. “Apartheid was a violent system and it produced violent countermeasures to it. So people still believe that to fight authority you must fight government … even now, when it is your own government. We need to be helped as a society,” he said. “They get excited. They burn the tyres; they block the roads; they destroy property; exercising their rights but interfering with the rights of many.” Zuma then lashed out at the Economic Freedom Fighters and their trademark militancy  in Parliament. “Look at the institution that is said to be the apex of democracy, Parliament. Look at the politicians whom you have voted for, how angry they are. How defiant they are, even in Parliament,” he said to thunderous applause. Zuma said Parliament and the office of the Speaker should be respected. He was taking exception to the behaviour of EFF Members of Parliament who often disobey the orders of the Speaker in the national assembly. “If the Speaker says ‘Out of my house’, you must get out. But what do some of the members of Parliament do when the Speaker says ‘Sit down’, they say ‘Speaker, I want to address you’. They will continue addressing the speaker. If the speaker says ‘Withdraw’ they say ‘I won’t withdraw’. If the speaker says ‘Out’ they say ‘I won’t go out’,” Zuma told the crowd. He said this was a glaring example of what he called the “violent culture of apartheid”. “Imagine if politicians are so angry then who will rule the country.” *Source Mgafrica  ]]>

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S. Africa braces for economic backlash from xenophobic attacks
April 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Jean Liou* [caption id="attachment_17746" align="alignleft" width="300"]The hands of displaced foreign nationals are photographed as they stand outside a shelter for displaced foreigners in east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, April 21, 2015. The South African army has been deployed to areas in that remain volatile after a spate of attacks targeting immigrants, the defense minister announced on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe) The hands of displaced foreign nationals are photographed as they stand outside a shelter for displaced foreigners in east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, April 21, 2015. The South African army has been deployed to areas in that remain volatile after a spate of attacks targeting immigrants, the defense minister announced on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)[/caption] Johannesburg (AFP) – A wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa could provoke reprisals from neighbouring countries, raising concerns among South African business leaders and officials that the violence against foreigners could further damage the weak economy.

Calls for a boycott of South African products have multiplied amid anger in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and elsewhere on the continent over their citizens being attacked by mobs in Johannesburg and Durban.

At least seven people have been killed in the violence and thousands of immigrants forced to flee their homes, making headline news around the world as soldiers were deployed to restore order in the impoverished townships.

 

“Since the start of the attacks, our country has lost billions of rands in export foreign revenue,” trade and industry Deputy Minister Mzwandile Masina said Wednesday, without giving further details.

Calling the situation “untenable,” he added that the government was “worried about the cost and the negative impact of the attacks on foreign nationals on the country’s image and its economy”.

“We cannot have these attacks continuing,” he said.

Nigeria’s foreign ministry summoned South Africa’s high commissioner over the attacks, while influential Zimbabwe National Students Union president Gilbert Mutubuki called on youths to target local South African businesses.

Mutubuki was reported to have named the supermarket chain Pick n Pay as one possible target.

Other South African brand names operating across southern Africa include such giants as the MTN telecoms group, Shoprite, Old Mutual insurer and the Standard Bank and Nedbank.

“We are appealing to different African countries not to retaliate… because it won’t help anybody,” Bene M’Poko, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s ambassador to South Africa, said this week.

In Mozambique, South African petrochemicals group Sasol evacuated 340 staff and sent them back home, while Irish mining firm Kenmare Resources repatriated 62 workers.

– Exports to Africa –

“What’s been going on in South Africa is of grave concern and it’s disheartening. Sasol is a South African company, but we are global,” Sasol spokesman Alex Anderson told AFP.

“Sasol became aware of unrest by the Mozambican employees of our contractors.”

Last week, about 200 people in Mozambique briefly blockaded the border and threw rocks at South African vehicles.

South Africa’s economic growth slowed to 1.5 percent last year from 2.2 percent in 2013, and far from the five percent growth rate before the global economic crisis. The country runs a large trade balance surplus with the rest of Africa.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said South Africa relied on exports of cars, clothes and textiles.

“We sell 260 billion rand (20 billion euros, $21 billion) worth of goods to other African countries… that creates more than 160,000 jobs in South Africa,” he said.

Patel addressed the thorny issue of immigrants taking jobs for less pay than locals, fuelling frustration that immigrants “steal” South African jobs.

“We must make it clear to companies: don’t exploit foreign workers,” he said.

“Don’t pay them less than South African workers… so much so that South African workers are put aside.”

For Nedbank analyst Dennis Syke, government action in the coming weeks is key to limiting the damage.

“Government response initially was I think fairly weak, but it is improving now and there seems to be more determination to try and get things sorted out,” he said.

Tourism — a major industry in South Africa — remains vulnerable, despite the unrest not spreading to Cape Town, the wine-growing regions or safari resorts.

Several foreign ministries, including Britain and Australia, have updated their travel advisories to highlight the unrest.

“The xenophobic violence you hear about in South Africa does not target tourists and does not affect tourist regions,” tour operator Onne Vegter wrote in an editorial for the specialist Tourism Update website.

But it added that the situation is “a PR disaster for us, as our country is once again in the news for all the wrong reasons”.

*Source AFP/Yahoo]]>

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South Africa, Nigeria trade barbs over attacks on migrants
April 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

Johannesburg (AFP) – The South African government reacted angrily Sunday to Nigeria’s decision to recall its ambassador from Pretoria over a wave of mob attacks on African migrants that killed at least seven people.
  [caption id="attachment_17742" align="alignleft" width="300"]A demonstrator holds a banner in Johannesburg, South Africa, on April 23, 2015 during a protest against the recent wave of xenophobic attacks (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia) A demonstrator holds a banner in Johannesburg, South Africa, on April 23, 2015 during a protest against the recent wave of xenophobic attacks (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)[/caption]

“We are not sure which actions or behaviour of the South African Government the Nigerian Government is protesting,” the South African foreign ministry said in a statement.

“If this action is based on the incidents of attacks on foreign nationals in some parts of our country, it would be curious for a sisterly country to want to exploit such a painful episode for whatever agenda,” the ministry said, lamenting Nigeria’s “unfortunate and regrettable step.”

Taking aim at its rival for economic and political dominance in Africa, Pretoria said it had held off blaming Nigeria’s government when 84 South Africans were killed in the collapse of a church building in Lagos last year.

South Africa had also refrained from blaming Nigerian authorities for the “more than nine months delay” in the repatriation of the bodies “or for the fact that when these bodies eventually returned, they were in a state that they could not be touched or viewed as required by our burial practice.”

The testy statement from Pretoria comes a day after Nigeria announced it was recalling its ambassador in Pretoria for consultations over “the on-going xenophobia” in the country.

South African President Jacob Zuma deployed troops last week to quell the violence in Johannesburg and the port city of Durban, which forced thousands of people from their homes over the past few weeks.

No deadly attacks have been reported in the past week.

– ‘Fear and uncertainty’ –

The Nigerian foreign ministry said the attacks by mobs accusing foreigners of stealing their jobs had “created fear and uncertainty” among African migrants in “the former apartheid enclave.”

[caption id="attachment_17743" align="alignright" width="300"]A man runs holding a Nigerian flag as thousands march against the recent wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa through the streets of Johannesburg on April 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia) A man runs holding a Nigerian flag as thousands march against the recent wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa through the streets of Johannesburg on April 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)[/caption]

On Wednesday, the country’s junior foreign minister Musiliu Obanikoro summoned South Africa’s High Commissioner in Abuja to demand Pretoria take “concrete steps to quell the unrest”.

Obanikoro also demanded South Africa compensate the victims of the attacks.

Hundreds of Zimbabweans, Malawians and Mozambicans have been repatriated by their governments over the unrest, which has drawn fierce criticism of South Africans from Africans in other parts of the continent.

In its statement Sunday, South Africa’s foreign ministry hit back, reminding Nigeria of its own security shortcomings, as laid bare by the Boko Haram insurgency.

“We hope that the more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram will someday be reunited with their families,” South Africa said referring to a group of students kidnapped in the northern Nigerian town of Chibok that have been missing for over a year.

*Source AFP/Yahoo
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"It seems the best way for S.Africans to express their problems to Govt is to attack foreigners."
April 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

Solomon Amabo infront of Cameroon High Commission office in South Africa Solomon Amabo infront of Cameroon High Commission office in South Africa[/caption] South Africans see attacks on foreigners as one of the best ways to express their frustrations to their government says Solomon Amabo who was among the numerous African victims of xenophobia in Mandela’s country. A Journalist from Cameroon, Amabo and others were lucky to escape when his home in Jeppestown,Johannesbourg, was stormed by irate South Africans seeking to send foreigners packing. Amabo says he has not previously had any issues with South Africans . “Foreigners look for capital and create their own jobs,” says Amabo in debunking claims that jobs meant for South Africans are taken by foreigners. Amabo also expressed concerns on the poor response of the Cameroon government to plight of his compatriots caught in the crossfire of the attacks. In an incident which took place after the interview, the fears of Amabo were justified when a meeting he had with the Cameroon High Commissioner to South Africa to address the plight of Cameroonians went ugly. Can you shed more light on the attack you suffered recently in South Africa, how did this happen? I was home (351 Hans and Fox Street, Jeppestown Johannesburg, South Africa) It was about 10 pm on 17 April 2015.  With the attack on foreigners, everybody is always on alert. At that 10 pm, I prayed and read Psalm 91 and was about to sleep. I heard a group of people singing not far from my home. Five minutes later I started hearing how my door was being hit. I immediately knew our compound was under attack. First reaction was to call some compatriots notably Comrade Milton Taka of the Social Democratic Front,SDF(an opposition party in Cameroon) and then screamed to wake up all the neighbours. ‘We are going to kill you. Open the door.’ Kwere were’ (foreigners). All of you must leave South Africa,” I heard the voices saying Bang, bang, my first iron door pulled off apparently I thought. ‘Why do you want to kill me? We can negotiate. We are brothers; we are Africans,’ I said, as I started broking through my window in a bid to escape. ‘Bang, bang,’ they continued hitting the second door which I had now blocked with my bed. Things were going too fast. [caption id="attachment_17715" align="alignright" width="180"]Elvis Apianga from Cameroon was one of those who died from the xenophobic attacks in Johanesburg ,South Africa Elvis Apianga from Cameroon was one of those who died from the xenophobic attacks in Johanesburg ,South Africa[/caption] With everyone on alert, the police were called in by neighbors. Before they could finally break the second iron door and get to me, I, and with the assistance of neighbours had broken the window and escaped to safety. As I escaped they shot me with stones. (See destroyed window). More than 8 of us all tenants living in the compound had moved on to the roof of the building. We were preparing to start firing stones we had prepared against the group of about ten persons who attacked our compound with cutlasses, sticks and other weapons. In less than 6 minutes, two cars from the South-African Police Service (SAPS) whom I keep thanking for their prompt response! The Police then ferried me and some other neighbors to the Jeppestown police station where we spent the night. While there, I met more than 20 other foreign nationals and some security guards who had abandoned their duty post to seek refuge at the police station. I heard that other houses were looted same night within that neighborhood. At dawn on April 18, policemen accompanied me to my house. I could not find some R2700, my TV set my laptop and other items which I think would be known after. My home was ransacked. I returned to the JeppesTown Police Station where I opened a case of robbery against x.  It is only later in the evening that I discovered that I had bruises on my arms in the course of my escape. From the police station, some benevolent friend thereafter took me to his for safety. . What was the reaction of South Africans who live in the same building as you, where there accomplices to the attack or there was some sympathy from them? They showed sympathy. But the building is inhabited by Kenyans, Malawians Mozambicans etc. everybody is scared because any foreigner can be attacked. Some of them are the ones who called the police while the attack on my house was ongoing. Prior to the attack have you had any conflicts with South Africans or what is it you did as a person that will prompt such an attack on you? I do not have any problem with any South Africa. This is a country that you learn to avoid argument with anyone for fear of being killed. After my house other houses were attacked and looted. How prompt was the response of the police when you called and what measures have been taken to beef up security where you live? [caption id="attachment_17716" align="alignleft" width="300"]Amabo's apartment was ransacked Amabo’s apartment was ransacked[/caption] The police were very prompt as explained above,. They are working 24/7. when we were at the police post, the kept being deployed once the get report of an area being attacked. Many of them have been deployed in Jeppestown where I lived. Today April 21, Defence Minister Nosviwe Mapisa announced the deployment of hot spots of xenophobia in the country. How did this wave of xenophobia start and did the journalist you are see this coming? SA has been like that. There was xenophobia in 2008 and 2009. To be clear from time to time this would occur because it seems the best way for SA to express their problems to govt is to attack foreigners. This year it started when the Zulu King Zwelitini Goodwill accused foreigners of owning much businesses, depriving nationals. The speech was unexpected and I learnt that he was angry at the fact that some black foreign nationals had robbed him in a diamond deal. I don’t think this is the last because the country is generally insecure. Many civilians carry illegal weapons. I wish to think these are weapons used to end apartheid. Eminent personalities like former President Mbeki say the xenophobia is perpetrated by a small minority , is that really the case considering the scale of the violence and gory images that are floating around ? He can be right to an extent because so far only two provinces, Gauteng and Kzazulu Natal- Durban have witnessed Xenophobia. Besides not all south Africans support xenophobia. What appraisal do you make of President Zuma’s response, how helpful has it been in dousing the flames and tension? Zuma has tried as he could to deploy first some 350 soldiers to check illegal immigration. He has been on media, parliament and even met the victims to try stop it. He has finally heeded calls to deploy troops. He has done what I think he could, but I think he should try to get people documented to avoid discontent. This is not the first time such attacks are taking place, is South Africa moving towards black on black apartheid? [caption id="attachment_17719" align="alignright" width="300"]With Djeukam Tchameni of the Cap Liberte fame, Amabo has become the most visible voice articulating the plight of Cameroonians affected by the attacks in South Africa With Djeukam Tchameni of the Cap Liberte fame, Amabo has become the most visible voice articulating the plight of Cameroonians affected by the attacks in South Africa[/caption] I don’t think that we are moving towards apartheid. The foreign community is already too many. You Can understand the situation if you note that SA were deprived of education for more than 40 years. The people see violence like only solution and death as nothing. Gradually the people are being educated and things are changing. It would take time. Maybe one or two generations of at least 40 years each. Some have explained the xenophobia on economic grounds, from your observations, are foreigners actually taking jobs that South Africans should be doing? What jobs are we talking about here? Foreigners look for capital and create their own jobs because most of them do not have required stay documents. How can SA be fighting over cleaning jobs? The issue is that it is believed that with the grants the government give per child, old age grants, free houses they don’t want to work and accuse foreigners.  Where are the jobs? Its really difficult even if you are qualified. SA need to get training educated to be able to take over foreign expertise. It would come though with time. We have heard of several governments taking measures evacuate your citizens, are there any plans the Cameroon government is making offer the help its nationals may need? The Embassy has remained silent and do not pick even phone calls or respond to email. I will have to storm the embassy before Friday. We have victims and those who want to go home. Can the embassy assist. That is what we should know.]]>

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The Lavish tax funded Lifestyle of Zulu King blamed for SA Violence
April 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

A palace for each of his six wives and £155,000 just on military uniforms for his 28 children: Jaw-dropping life of Zulu King is blamed for sparking South African bloodshed by branding immigrants ‘lice’

  • King Goodwill Zwelithini allegedly compared foreigners to ‘ants’ and ‘lice’
  • Back in 2012 the 67-year-old told followers homosexuals were ‘rotten’
  • But father-of-28’s lavish lifestyle with his six wives is equally controversial
  • Last year he declared himself bankrupt having spent £250,000 on wedding
  • Yet just last month he bought a Mercedes for each wife – plus a spare
[caption id="attachment_17626" align="alignleft" width="250"]Controversial: King Goodwill Zwelithini (pictured) has been blamed for sparking the xenophobic riots which has left at least seven dead in the last couple of weeks as it spreads from Durban to Johannesburg Controversial: King Goodwill Zwelithini (pictured) has been blamed for sparking the xenophobic riots which has left at least seven dead in the last couple of weeks as it spreads from Durban to Johannesburg[/caption]

The Zulu king blamed for sparking the violence against foreigners which has seen South Africa’s streets turn into battlefields running with blood over the past two weeks is no stranger to scandal.

It was just a couple of years ago that King Goodwill Zwelithini – who last month said foreigners should ‘pack their belongings’ and leave – labelled homosexuals as ‘rotten’.

The dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist has also courted the wrath of women’s rights and HIV/Aids campaigners for his hardline stance on controversial traditional virginity testing.

King Zwelithini resurrected the outdated custom, in the face of widespread opposition, by claiming it helped the country’s fight against HIV/Aids.

But more recently, there was the revelation that he was bankrupt – despite the 54million rand (£3million) handed to him from the South African government to keep the 67-year-old, his six wives and 28 children in the style to which they are accustomed.

And, as a man who likes to spend more on his birthday cake than many of his subjects earn in a lifetime, it is quite some lifestyle.

While King Zwelithini continues to enjoy all the trappings of his royal status, South African authorities arrested 11 men in Johannesburg late on Tuesday suspected of involvement in violence against immigrants, local television news reported.

The men were held during a joint raid by the police and army on a Johannesburg hostel.

A wave of anti-immigrant violence has so far claimed seven lives in trouble spots in Durban and Johannesburg, to where the government announced the deployment of defence forces on Tuesday.

A speech given by the King in Durban last month, denouncing foreigners as ‘ants’ and ‘lice’ who should leave the country, has been blamed for sparking the violence.

The hellish scenes across townships in South Africa are a far cry from King Zwelithini’s opulent marriage to his sixth wife Zola Mafu, a 28-year-old princess from the neighbouring kingdom of Swaziland, in July, which included a marquee, catering and flowers for 5,000 invited guests.

According to South Africa’s Sunday Times, the monarch paid out more than £55,000 on catering, around £10,000 on a sound system and £15,000 on decorations and flowers.

In total, the extravaganza, attended by 5,000 people, cost an estimated £250,000.

Maintaining all six wives, their children and grandchildren in separate palaces, with generous allowances, private school fees and a retinue of personal staff, requires substantial funding, according to reports.

And he decided they all needed new, imported military regalia to wear to the opening of KwaZulu Natal’s state legislature later this year – at the not insignificant price of £155,000, the Times claimed.

But that is not to say the King, who became leader of South Africa’s biggest tribal group aged just 20 in 1968, does not have previous form on exorbitant expenditure.

In 2012, King Zwelithini asked for half a million pounds for a new palace for Queen Mafu – as well as an extra million pounds on fifth wife Queen MaMchiza’s home, in Nongoma, which boasts five royal residences.

Four years before, the royal family had come under fire for spending more than £16,000 on linen.

And just last month, the Sunday Times reported that the King had bought each of his queens a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, in addition to a seventh model ‘as a back up’.

[caption id="attachment_17628" align="alignright" width="300"]Horrific: The brutal murder of Mozambican man Emmanuel Sithole in a township near Johannesburg was captured on camera. Zwelithini has been blamed for sparking outbursts of xenophobic violence like this Horrific: The brutal murder of Mozambican man Emmanuel Sithole in a township near Johannesburg was captured on camera. Zwelithini has been blamed for sparking outbursts of xenophobic violence like this[/caption]

The monarch’s opulent lifestyle is in stark contrast to millions of South Africans who, more than two decades after winning freedom, still do not have access to basic services such as clean water and electricity.

But despite opposition politicians hitting out at the huge amounts lavished upon King Zwelithini and his family, it is unlikely to change.

As South Africa celebrates 21 years of democracy next week, the largesse enjoyed by the king at the taxpayers’ expense appears assured – at least while controversial president and fellow Zulu Jacob Zuma clings to power.

Mr Zuma, who himself has four wives and at least 20 children, has relied on the influential leader to deliver political support, both to him personally and the governing ANC.

In return, the king enjoys a budget far higher than South Africa’s other royal households and chiefdoms.

Indeed, the South African government waved through an extra two million rand (£110,600) just last month, to help him get to the end of the financial year.

What’s more, his allowance looks set to rise to R63million (£3.5million) a year by 2017.

And none of this takes into account the amount the South African taxpayer is having to shoulder thanks to the inflammatory speech he gave in March.

‘We ask the foreign nationals to pack their belongings and go back to their countries,’ he said during the speech in Durban.

King Zwelithini has blamed bad reporting for his alleged hate speech, yet his attempt to call for calm this week contained a clear, but rather chilling hint at the power the firebrand believes he wields over his predominantly impoverished, young followers.

He told a crowd of 10,000 that if he had really ordered people to be killed ‘this country would be reduced to ashes’.

Even so, the South African government has been forced to declare ‘an emergency’ over the issue, ordering troops onto the streets of its most volatile townships where disaffected locals have been ransacking shacks in search of migrants they accuse of stealing job and business opportunities.

At least 7,000 foreigners are sheltering in camps for their safety and more than 900 have fled, including to Zimbabwe where despot Robert Mugabe’s government has likened the monarch’s alleged remarks to those made in the run up to the genocide in Rwanda 20 years ago

*Source Daily Mail]]>

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African nations close ranks against South Africa after week of horror xenophobic attacks, criticism gets very loud
April 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

633x356SOUTH Africa is facing a backlash from an increasing number of African nations after mobs repeatedly attacked foreigners and looted their stores, prompting its presidency to warn that the country’s interests could come under threat if the upheaval was not arrested. At least five people have died in clashes in the eastern port city of Durban, Johannesburg and other towns since last week, while more than 1,400 have fled their homes. In a sign of how deep-rooted the problem may be, a solidarity march against xenophobia in Durban on Thursday was interrupted by mobs insisting foreign nationals must leave. Some poor South Africans see Zimbabweans, Malawians, Somalis, Ethiopians, Malawians and Pakistanis as competitors for jobs and business opportunities in a country with a 24% unemployment rate. One fifth of the population of 54 million survive on less than 335 rand ($28) a month. South Africa’s cabinet warned on Friday that companies operating in the rest of Africa may be targeted, just as Johannesburg-based Sasol Ltd. announced it’s repatriating South African employees working on projects in Mozambique for their own safety. The blowback also came from unexpected quarters: award winning South African kwaito group Big Nuz cancelled their show set for Friday in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, saying they feared violence from locals. The violence is embarrassing for the ruling African National Congress, whose members sought refuge in countries on the continent before white-minority rule ended in 1994. The South African government on Friday met with ambassadors and diplomats from several African countries to reassure them of the safety of their nationals and keep relations onside. Sparked condemnation The violence of the past week has sparked condemnation from governments from Ghana to Malawi, protests in Nigeria and Zimbabwe and calls from major continental groups such as the African Union for South Africa to act decisively to stem the attacks. “If this was happening here in Zimbabwe, the calls for immediate action would be like a cacophony,” Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said in a phone interview from Harare on Thursday. South Africa has to act “to save the lives and livelihoods of their fellow African brothers and sisters from Zimbabwe and elsewhere on the continent. They must act immediately against any form of racism or xenophobia.” Malawi hired buses to repatriate its citizens caught up in the violence, “I would have wished the government of South Africa would have done more,” Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa said by phone from Blantyre, the capital, on Thursday. “We are concerned, we are disappointed. We want to take our people back home until the situation normalises.” The Economic Community of Western African States, a 16- nation regional group, said in a statement on Friday that it was regrettable that “the very people, whose nations sacrificed to help South Africans fight, repel and defeat apartheid, will today be considered aliens and hacked to death in such barbaric manners.” Patrick Gaspard, the US ambassador to South Africa, the United Nations and the African Union, a 53-nation continental grouping, also issued statements on Thursday condemning the attacks. “Whatever the challenges we may be facing, no circumstances justify attacks on people, whether foreigners or locals,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairwoman of the AU Commission and a South African citizen. “It is unacceptable.” Formal complaint China made a formal complaint with South Africa’s government about attacks directed against its nationals, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei. [caption id="attachment_17614" align="alignright" width="300"]African Union heads of state in a past group photo. The bloc has condemned the attacks African Union heads of state in a past group photo. The bloc has condemned the attacks[/caption] The Malawi and Somali governments have set in motion plans to repatriate their nationals. The Zambian, Ugandan, Kenyan and Botswana governments also said they were closely monitoring the situation and would pull out their nationals if necessary, while Namibian ruling SWAPO party youth activists said they would organise a protest march in Windhoek. Reactions from African Union host Ethiopia, which was set to receive the bodies of three of its nationals killed in attacks in South Africa, have been among the most intense, as several Ethiopians sought to remind South Africa of the role the country played in its struggle against apartheid. Africa’s biggest economy Nigeria, which also has several of its nationals in South Africa and has had a number of diplomatic spats with Pretoria despite being a major trade partner, on Friday added its voice to the pushback. “The Federal Government… calls on the government of South Africa to live up to its responsibilities and take all necessary steps to stop the on-going xenophobic attacks and put in place policies and structures to prevent a reoccurrence,” the ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. This came after some Nigerian lawmakers on Thursday pushed for laws to frustrate South African businesses. A vote to sever diplomatic ties was however defeated. Repatriate nationals An estimated 20,000 Nigerians live in South Africa, and Abuja said it would repatriate its nationals if the situation deteriorated. So far nationals from Ghana, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania have been reported killed, although Tanzanian envoy Elibahati Ngoyai said there was no official confirmation his compatriots had died in xenophobic attacks. Jeff Radebe, a minister in the South African presidency, warned that the attacks would have far-reaching consequences for the nation’s economy and its relations with Africa and the rest of the world. “South African companies who are running successful businesses in the continent who help to contribute to our revenue and sustaining our economy may suffer the similar fate,” he told reporters in Pretoria, the capital. “South Africa is not a violent country and therefore a few individuals cannot be allowed to hold the whole country to ransom.” In an increasingly globalised world, South African businesses have cause to be concerned about a possible continental backlash. Many have branched north, with telecoms giant MTN, carrier South African Airways, retail giants Shoprite and Woolworths and pay TV giant Multichoice among the most visible. FDI flows MTN for example derives the bulk of its profits from Nigeria. The country’s banks and insurers such as Standard Bank, Absa, First Rand, Sanlam and Liberty Life are also highly active in countries to the north. “Here in Zimbabwe we support South African businesses, which sell goods and conduct trade. The South African people can’t have their cake and eat it,” Zimbabwe opposition MP Jessie Majome said on Wednesday, as he delivered a cross-partisan petition to the South African embassy in Harare. In 2012, South African invested in more new Foreign Direct Investments in Africa than any other country with its 75 projects—the most— valued at $1.4 billion making up 12% of total FDI into Africa. Only China, India, the US, UK and Canada invested more by value. Most investments by South African firms have been in services and consumer products, while resources also showed up on the radar. With close to 50,000 jobs created in these cross-border links, neither of the two parties can afford soured relations. *Source Mgafrica  ]]>

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ANALYSIS: Are foreigners stealing jobs in South Africa?
April 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Migrant workers on duty Migrant workers on duty[/caption] International migrants are often accused of stealing jobs from locals in South Africa. But new data presents a far more nuanced picture of what it means to be a migrant trying to make a living in the country. With every outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa, the refrain is the same. “Thekwerekwere are stealing our jobs,” people say. Shops are torched. Streets are barricaded. Tyres are set alight. Rocks become weapons. People are hacked, stabbed, shot and burned to death. Jubilant mobs hound Somalis, Mozambicans, Zimbabweans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis from their homes and businesses. The claim that “foreigners” are taking jobs from South Africans“is an argument that is always made”, says Professor Loren Landau, director of the African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) at Wits University. “As if it justifies killing.” The most recent spate of violence in Gauteng, which swept through parts of Soweto, Kagiso, Alexandra and Langlaagte, claimed the lives of six people, including a one month old child.

“I am not xenophobic”

Statements by some government ministers have done little to calm tensions. In the weeks preceding the violence, Nomvula Mokonyane, the Minister of Water and Sanitation,commented on Facebook that in Kagiso “[a]lmost every second outlet (spaza) or even former general dealer shops are run by people of Somali or Pakistan origin (sic)…I am not xenophobic fellow comrades and friends but this is a recipe for disaster”. And last week Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu told Business Day  that “[f]oreigners need to understand that they are here as a courtesy and our priority is to the people of this country first and foremost… They cannot barricade themselves in and not share their practices with local business owners”.

New data provides new insights

“The idea that people are here ‘stealing’ jobs and that they don’t have a right to be here needs to be corrected,” says Dr Zaheera Jinnah, an anthropologist and researcher at the ACMS. Myths and misconceptions travel quickly. But new data, some of which has yet to be published, presents a far more nuanced picture of what it means to be a migrant from Africa or Asia and trying to make a living in South Africa. The Migrating for Work Research Consortium (MiWORC), an organisation that examines migration and its impact on the South African labour market, released two studies last year that drew on labour data collected in 2012 by Statistics South Africa. They found that 82% of the working population aged between 15 and 64 were “non-migrants”, 14% were “domestic migrants” who had moved between provinces in the past five years and just 4% could be classed as “international migrants”. With an official  working population of 33,017,579 people, this means that around 1,2-million of them were international migrants. A racial breakdown of the statistics reveals that 79% of international migrants were African, 17% were white and around three percent were Indian or Asian. Jinnah said that there were misconceptions about the size of the international migrant community in South Africa. “There is a disconnect between perception and reality largely because there hasn’t been data available until now. So a lot of what has been said and reproduced is based on hearsay and anecdotal evidence or myths.” MiWORC found that Gauteng province had the highest proportion of foreign-born workers with around 8% of the working population having been born in another country. Limpopo and Mpumalanga had the next highest proportion of  international migrants at 4%, followed by North West (3%), the Western Cape (3%), Free State (2%), Northern Cape (1%), Eastern Cape (1%) and KwaZulu-Natal (1%).

Low unemployment rates

International migrants are more likely to be employed than South Africans. According to the MiWORC data, international migrants in South Africa have much lower unemployment rates than others. This is unusual. In most other countries, international migrants tend to have higher unemployment rates than locals. South Africa’s unemployment data shows that 26.16% of “non-migrants” are unemployed and 32.51% of “domestic migrants” are unemployed. By comparison, only 14.68% of international migrants are unemployed. But while international migrants are less likely to be unemployed, most find themselves in positions of unstable, “precarious employment”. They don’t have access to benefits or formal work contracts. International migrants in South Africa are more likely to take jobs that locals are not willing to take or find work in the informal sector. According to the MiWORC research, 32.65% of international migrants are employed in the informal sector in South Africa compared to 16.57% of “non-migrants” and 17.97% of “domestic migrants”. The studies suggest that this is because the informal sector offers the lowest entry cost into the labour market. The majority of international migrants also come from African countries which have large informal sectors.

Foreigners don’t dominate informal sector

According to MiWORC’s research, international migrants are far more likely to run their own businesses. Eleven percent are “employers” and 21% are classed as “self-employed”. By comparison, only 5% of non-migrants and domestic migrants were employers and only 9% of non-migrants and 7% of domestic migrants were self-employed. Late last year, the Gauteng City-Region Observatory – a collaborative project between Wits University, the University of Johannesburg and the provincial government –  conducted a limited survey of the informal sector in Johannesburg. Dr Sally Peberdy, a senior researcher at the Observatory – says that the belief that international migrants dominate the informal sector is false.  “We found that less than two out of 10 people who owned a business in the informal sector [in Johannesburg] were cross-border migrants.” Peberdy argues that international migrants do play a positive role in South Africa. “The evidence shows that they contribute to South Africa and South Africans by providing jobs, paying rent, paying VAT and providing affordable and convenient goods.” The Observatory’s study, which is due to be published tomorrow, found that 31% of the 618 international migrant traders interviewed rented properties from South Africans. Collectively they also employed 1,223 people, of which 503 were South Africans. *Source AfricaCheck.This article was originally published on 8 February 2015.  ]]>

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Xenophobia at odds with SA 'rhetoric of inclusivity and human rights'-social anthropologist Professor Francis B Nyamnjoh
April 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Everyone in South Africa – citizens and foreigners alike – should be worried by the recent spate of attacks on black foreigners that started in KwaZulu-Natal and have subsequently spread to other parts of the country, says social anthropologist Professor Francis B Nyamnjoh [caption id="attachment_17603" align="alignleft" width="300"]Francis B Nyamnjoh is a professor of social anthropology at the University of Cape Town. Francis B Nyamnjoh is a professor of social anthropology at the University of Cape Town.[/caption] It is most unsettling that South African political leaders and policy makers are not doing enough to encourage South Africans to disabuse themselves of the illusion that their problems can be solved through the logic of exclusion and scapegoating of certain types of foreigners that has pervaded, paradoxically, since the dawn of democracy in 1994. What is happening in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal reawakens a monster that political leaders and policy makers should have sought a way to bury for good after the xenophobic violence of 2008. Everyone in South Africa – citizen and foreigner alike – should be worried by the eruptions in Durban that are now spreading to other parts of the country. The logic of ever diminishing circles of inclusion dictates that the next amakwerekwere, foreigners or strangers, is always one layer below the obvious one. This was made quite evident in a song by popular Zulu musician, Mbongeni Ngema, released in May 2002, which has been banned from public broadcast. Titled AmaNdiya, the controversial song claims to “begin a constructive discussion that would lead to a true reconciliation between Indians and Africans”, and accuses South African Indians of opportunism and of enriching themselves to the detriment of blacks. In the song Ngema goes on to say that if the Indians are to be taken seriously as belonging to South Africa, they must display greater patriotism and stop straddling continents. Implied in his song is that the Indians risk losing their South African citizenship should they refuse to change their ways. And if and when the Indians are gone in this bizarre nativity game of exclusionary violence and South Africa’s problems are still unsolved, who is next? If the Kill the Boer song, the row over Premier Helen Zille’s tweet on economic migrants from the Eastern Cape in the Western Cape and the Rhodes Must Fall movement are anything to go by, your guess is as good as mine who the next layer of “outsiders within” would be. This regressive logic and the scapegoating of perceived outsiders is also well captured by the Nando’s diversity advert released in June 2012. The advert articulates an idea of identity and belonging in South Africa that is both conscious and cognisant of the histories of mobilities of peoples that have made South Africa possible, and that remains open to new and ongoing mobilities. Like other Nando’s advertisements, the diversity ad is very provocative and ambiguous, and it understandably elicited mixed reactions, including a ban from being broadcast by the SABC. The ad starts with black Africans illegally crossing a barbed-wire border fence into South Africa. There is a voiceover and each time the voice calls out a name, the group of people who represent that particular identity are transformed into a cloud of smoke, as follows: You know what is wrong with South Africa: all you foreigners. You must all go back to where you came from – you Cameroonians, Congolese, Pakistanis, Somalis, Ghanaians and Kenyans. And of course you Nigerians and you Europeans. Let’s not forget you Indians and Chinese. Even you Afrikaners. Back to Swaziland you Swazis, Lesotho you Sothos, Vendas, Zulus, everybody. In the end, only one person is left standing, a San man who, armed with a bow and arrow and ready to explore the wilderness, confronts the voiceover with these words: “I’m not going anywhere. You found us here.” The ad concludes with the voiceover saying: “Real South Africans love diversity. That’s why we have introduced two more items: New peri-crusted wings and delicious Trinchado and chips.” To my mind, far from promoting xenophobia, this ad is challenging narrow and parochial identities, or ideas of being and belonging as a zero-sum game. It is against prevalent regressive logics and ever-diminishing circles of being South African in a world characterised by the flexible mobility of people. It invites us to contemplate what it is to be South African, if every colour of its current rainbow configuration must go back to their Nazareth and be counted. If belonging is articulated in rigid exclusionary terms, where everyone however mobile, is considered to belong to a particular homeland somewhere else, a place they cannot outgrow and which they must belong to regardless of where they were born or where they live and work, then South Africa can only belong to one group of people, those who were there before everyone else: the San. They, who know only too well that they are the bona fide sons and daughters of the South African soil and its resources – the only authentic South Africans. The immigration policies and practices of the South African state, as well as the xenophobic attitudes of some South Africans, contradict the rhetoric of inclusivity, human rights and ties to the rest of Africa that proliferate in official pronouncements and civil society discourses. Yet we are reminded by ethnographies of everyday lives and living that being and belonging is a permanent work in progress – open-ended, complex and nuanced. It is the duty of South African leaders (political, economic, cultural, intellectual, and others) and media to make this abundantly and repeatedly clear to all and sundry. Good leadership does not go to sleep between eruptions. * Source UCT.Francis B Nyamnjoh is a professor of social anthropology at UCT with ties to the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA).]]>

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Xenophobia at odds with SA ‘rhetoric of inclusivity and human rights’-social anthropologist Professor Francis B Nyamnjoh
April 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Everyone in South Africa – citizens and foreigners alike – should be worried by the recent spate of attacks on black foreigners that started in KwaZulu-Natal and have subsequently spread to other parts of the country, says social anthropologist Professor Francis B Nyamnjoh

Francis B Nyamnjoh is a professor of social anthropology at the University of Cape Town.

Francis B Nyamnjoh is a professor of social anthropology at the University of Cape Town.

It is most unsettling that South African political leaders and policy makers are not doing enough to encourage South Africans to disabuse themselves of the illusion that their problems can be solved through the logic of exclusion and scapegoating of certain types of foreigners that has pervaded, paradoxically, since the dawn of democracy in 1994. What is happening in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal reawakens a monster that political leaders and policy makers should have sought a way to bury for good after the xenophobic violence of 2008.

Everyone in South Africa – citizen and foreigner alike – should be worried by the eruptions in Durban that are now spreading to other parts of the country.

The logic of ever diminishing circles of inclusion dictates that the next amakwerekwere, foreigners or strangers, is always one layer below the obvious one. This was made quite evident in a song by popular Zulu musician, Mbongeni Ngema, released in May 2002, which has been banned from public broadcast.

Titled AmaNdiya, the controversial song claims to “begin a constructive discussion that would lead to a true reconciliation between Indians and Africans”, and accuses South African Indians of opportunism and of enriching themselves to the detriment of blacks. In the song Ngema goes on to say that if the Indians are to be taken seriously as belonging to South Africa, they must display greater patriotism and stop straddling continents. Implied in his song is that the Indians risk losing their South African citizenship should they refuse to change their ways.

And if and when the Indians are gone in this bizarre nativity game of exclusionary violence and South Africa’s problems are still unsolved, who is next? If the Kill the Boer song, the row over Premier Helen Zille’s tweet on economic migrants from the Eastern Cape in the Western Cape and the Rhodes Must Fall movement are anything to go by, your guess is as good as mine who the next layer of “outsiders within” would be.

This regressive logic and the scapegoating of perceived outsiders is also well captured by the Nando’s diversity advert released in June 2012. The advert articulates an idea of identity and belonging in South Africa that is both conscious and cognisant of the histories of mobilities of peoples that have made South Africa possible, and that remains open to new and ongoing mobilities. Like other Nando’s advertisements, the diversity ad is very provocative and ambiguous, and it understandably elicited mixed reactions, including a ban from being broadcast by the SABC. The ad starts with black Africans illegally crossing a barbed-wire border fence into South Africa. There is a voiceover and each time the voice calls out a name, the group of people who represent that particular identity are transformed into a cloud of smoke, as follows:

You know what is wrong with South Africa: all you foreigners. You must all go back to where you came from – you Cameroonians, Congolese, Pakistanis, Somalis, Ghanaians and Kenyans. And of course you Nigerians and you Europeans. Let’s not forget you Indians and Chinese. Even you Afrikaners. Back to Swaziland you Swazis, Lesotho you Sothos, Vendas, Zulus, everybody.

In the end, only one person is left standing, a San man who, armed with a bow and arrow and ready to explore the wilderness, confronts the voiceover with these words: “I’m not going anywhere. You found us here.” The ad concludes with the voiceover saying: “Real South Africans love diversity. That’s why we have introduced two more items: New peri-crusted wings and delicious Trinchado and chips.”

To my mind, far from promoting xenophobia, this ad is challenging narrow and parochial identities, or ideas of being and belonging as a zero-sum game. It is against prevalent regressive logics and ever-diminishing circles of being South African in a world characterised by the flexible mobility of people. It invites us to contemplate what it is to be South African, if every colour of its current rainbow configuration must go back to their Nazareth and be counted. If belonging is articulated in rigid exclusionary terms, where everyone however mobile, is considered to belong to a particular homeland somewhere else, a place they cannot outgrow and which they must belong to regardless of where they were born or where they live and work, then South Africa can only belong to one group of people, those who were there before everyone else: the San. They, who know only too well that they are the bona fide sons and daughters of the South African soil and its resources – the only authentic South Africans.

The immigration policies and practices of the South African state, as well as the xenophobic attitudes of some South Africans, contradict the rhetoric of inclusivity, human rights and ties to the rest of Africa that proliferate in official pronouncements and civil society discourses.

Yet we are reminded by ethnographies of everyday lives and living that being and belonging is a permanent work in progress – open-ended, complex and nuanced.

It is the duty of South African leaders (political, economic, cultural, intellectual, and others) and media to make this abundantly and repeatedly clear to all and sundry. Good leadership does not go to sleep between eruptions.

* Source UCT.Francis B Nyamnjoh is a professor of social anthropology at UCT with ties to the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA).

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South Africa attacks on foreigners spark anger abroad
April 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Sibongile Khumalo* [caption id="attachment_17575" align="alignleft" width="300"]A resident raises his hands as a South African anti-riot police officer raids a hostel in Benoni on April 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Marco Longari) A resident raises his hands as a South African anti-riot police officer raids a hostel in Benoni on April 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Marco Longari)[/caption] Johannesburg (AFP) – Countries neighbouring South Africa on Friday prepared to evacuate their citizens from South Africa as the UN raised the alarm over deadly xenophobic attacks which have displaced thousands.

The anti-foreigner violence, which erupted in the eastern port city of Durban, has left at least six people dead and spread to the economic hub, Johannesburg.

“In South Africa, xenophobic attacks over the last three weeks have… displaced over 5,000 foreign nationals,” the UN refugee agency said, adding it was “extremely concerned”.

“We would like to underscore that those affected in these xenophobic attacks are refugees and asylum seekers who were forced to leave their countries due to war and persecution,” the UNHCR said.

Foreigners who have fled their homes are sheltering in makeshift camps.

Neighbouring Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique announced plans to evacuate their citizens, as the violence drew regional outrage.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, Isaac Moyo said the repatriation of about 1,000 Zimbabweans from Durban would start on Sunday.

In the Zimbabwean capital Harare, demonstrators marched to the South African embassy to condemn what they called the “senseless and gruesome slaughter” of fellow Africans.

In Mozambique, a group of about 200 on Friday blockaded the southern Lebombo border with South Africa, stoning South African vehicles.

“The demonstrators blocked the road for half an hour, refusing to allow cars with South African registration plates to pass,” Moamba district police commander Alfonso Rocco told AFP.

– South African gigs cancelled –

[caption id="attachment_17576" align="alignright" width="300"]Zimbabwean citizens protest outside the South African Embassy in Harare against a wave of violence against immigrants in parts of South Africa, April 17, 2015 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana) Zimbabwean citizens protest outside the South African Embassy in Harare against a wave of violence against immigrants in parts of South Africa, April 17, 2015 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana)[/caption]

In Zambia, a privately-owned radio station has stopped playing South African music in protest against the xenophobic attacks.

“Radio QFM has blacked out the playing of South African music effective today, April 17th in protest against xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals taking place in that country,” QFM managing director Asan Nyama said in a statement posted on the station’s website.

South African singer Kelly Khumalo was forced to postpone performances in London because of outrage, while Big Nuz — a group that plays the popular Kwaito dance music genre — had to cancel a concert in Zimbabwe, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said Friday.

The anger in neighbouring countries was exacerbated by the fact that they hosted thousands of South African exiles during the struggle against apartheid — a point that President Jacob Zuma raised in a speech to parliament Thursday.

“We were treated with generosity, dignity and respect by our brothers and sisters on the rest of the continent,” Zuma said, noting that their solidarity was “critical to achievement of freedom and democracy we are enjoying today”.

‘Government must act’ –

The latest violence has been largely blamed on a speech last month by King Goodwill Zwelithini, traditional leader of the Zulus, in which he blamed foreigners for South Africa’s high crime rate and said they must “take their bags and go”.

The king has since said his words were misinterpreted, but for some, Zwelithini simply articulated what many were feeling.

[caption id="attachment_17578" align="alignleft" width="300"]Zimbabwean citizens protest outside the South African Embassy in Harare against a wave of violence against immigrants in parts of South Africa, April 17, 2015 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana) Zimbabwean citizens protest outside the South African Embassy in Harare against a wave of violence against immigrants in parts of South Africa, April 17, 2015 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana)[/caption]

South Africa’s relatively sophisticated economy attracts both legal and illegal African immigrants, but massive inequalities and high unemployment among locals breed resentment against them.

“We believe that the cause of the xenophobic attacks is policy failure by the government,” said Mienke Mary Steytler, of the South African Institute of Race Relations. “High unemployment and inequality are not being tackled.”

The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the “barbaric, criminal and xenophobic murder of innocent foreigners”, calling on the South African government to act quickly to end the violence.

This is not the first wave of anti-foreigner violence in South Africa. In January, foreign shopkeepers in and around the vast township of Soweto, south of Johannesburg, were forced to flee and six were killed as looters rampaged through the area.

And in 2008, 62 people were killed in xenophobic violence across the city’s townships.

*Source AFP/Yahoo]]>

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Anger at inequality drives S.Africa xenophobic attacks
April 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Kristen Van Schie* [caption id="attachment_17590" align="alignleft" width="300"]People run for cover from a stun grenade and tear gas after a skirmish between locals and foreign nationals as thousands of people take part in the "peace march" against xenophobia in Durban, South Africa, on April 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/) People run for cover from a stun grenade and tear gas after a skirmish between locals and foreign nationals as thousands of people take part in the “peace march” against xenophobia in Durban, South Africa, on April 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/)[/caption] Johannesburg (AFP) – High unemployment and a failure to address growing inequality are to blame for a wave of anti-immigrant attacks in South Africa, say analysts.

“We believe that the cause of the xenophobic attacks is policy failure by the government,” said Mienke Mary Steytler, of the South African Institute of Race Relations. “High unemployment and inequality are not being tackled.”

The violence has left at least six dead and more than a thousand displaced since the beginning of the month, with attacks spreading from the east coast city of Durban to parts of the economic hub, Johannesburg.

“The root of this problem lies in our inability to bring about economic growth and decrease the inequality that plagues our nation,” said the main opposition Democratic Alliance’s leader in parliament Mmusi Maimane.

“It is the hopelessness that results from unemployment that drives drug use and criminality in these communities, and underlies xenophobic attacks.”

In January, foreign shopkeepers in and around the vast township of Soweto, south of Johannesburg, were forced to flee and six were killed as looters rampaged through the area.

And in 2008, 62 people were killed in xenophobic violence across the city’s townships.

– ‘Take their bags and go’ –

The current outbreak has been largely blamed on a speech last month by King Goodwill Zwelethini, traditional leader of the Zulus, in which he blamed foreigners for South Africa’s high crime rate and said they must “take their bags and go” — to loud applause.

The king has since said his words were misinterpreted, but for some, Zwelithini simply articulated what many were feeling.

“People are frustrated,” said Braam Hanekom, director of Passop (People against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty), a Cape Town non-profit organisation that supports asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants.

“It’s hard to fight for jobs. It’s hard to fix the economy. It’s hard to create opportunities. It’s very easy to blame someone, but it’s hard to blame the elected leadership who have the majority of support on the ground.

“It’s much easier to find a soft target to express your frustrations, whatever those frustrations are, and foreign nationals are the soft target that frustrated communities have chosen to pick on.”

– 1 percent of population –

Accused of flooding the country, foreigners in fact make up just one percent of the working population in KwaZulu-Natal province — where the latest violence began — and only four percent nationally, according to a study released last year by the Wits University-based Migrating for Work Research Consortium.

[caption id="attachment_17591" align="alignright" width="300"]South African anti-riot policemen raid a hostel in Benoni, outside Johannesburg, on April 16, 2015, whose local residents have been protesting against the presence of Foreign-owned shops in the area (AFP Photo/Marco Longari) South African anti-riot policemen raid a hostel in Benoni, outside Johannesburg, on April 16, 2015, whose local residents have been protesting against the presence of Foreign-owned shops in the area (AFP Photo/Marco Longari)[/caption]

The researchers also found foreign workers were more likely to take jobs South Africans are not willing to do, or to start their own business: 21 percent were self-employed, 11 percent were employers.

In downtown Johannesburg earlier this week, as foreign traders closed shop and clustered anxiously on the sidewalk, South African Eveline Mangani elbowed her way in front of a camera and began loudly decrying the anti-immigrant sentiments.

“I’m very hurt by people saying they must be kicked out of the country, because I survive thanks to them,” she said.

“I get all my stock to resell from them. So I can put food on the table so that my five kids can survive. Now the shops are closed and look at my bag: it’s empty. I want the shops to open and I want them to be protected -– Somalis, Ghanaians, Ethiopians must be protected.”

The commercial success of foreigners running small general stores can be a sore point -– and a cause for envy, said Paul Ngema, provincial general secretary of the National African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NAFCOC).

“When you look at people, they derive their income from running ‘spaza’ shops. Most of these foreigners, they come and also run the same small businesses -– and they happen to do it better than the local ones. You may call it perhaps jealousy.”

In January, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu was accused of fuelling anti-immigrant sentiment when she said foreign shopkeepers must share their trade secrets.

“Foreigners need to understand that they are here as a courtesy and our priority is to the people of this country first and foremost,” she was reported as saying at the time. “They cannot barricade themselves in and not share their practices with local business owners.”

But as the violence has continued the message from government has changed.

“Many (foreigners) are in the country legally and contribute to the economy and social development of the country. Many bring skills that are scarce that help us to develop the economy and are most welcome to live our country,” President Jacob Zuma said in parliament Thursday. *Source AFP/Yahoo]]>

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Zimbabwe to bring home nationals caught in S.Africa attacks
April 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Zimbabwean citizens protest outside the South African Embassy in Harare, against a wave of violence against immigrants in parts of South Africa on April 17, 2015 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana) Zimbabwean citizens protest outside the South African Embassy in Harare, against a wave of violence against immigrants in parts of South Africa on April 17, 2015 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana)[/caption] Harare (AFP) – Zimbabwe will evacuate its nationals caught in anti-foreigner violence that has left six people dead in South Africa, the country’s ambassador told media Friday.

The country’s ambassador to South Africa Isaac Moyo said Harare will Sunday begin the repatriation of about 1,000 Zimbabwean citizens affected by the attacks in the eastern port city of Durban.

“Identification and processing of repatriation documents has already been done,” Moyo told the state-owned Chronicle newspaper.

There are some 250,000 Zimbabweans in South Africa, making them the biggest community of foreign nationals in the country.

Most Zimbabweans travelled to South Africa to escape the economic hardship that gripped their country after a wave of unrest in 2008.

On Friday, over a hundred people marched outside the South African embassy in the Zimbabwean capital, calling for an end to the violence.

“We, the people of Zimbabwe standing in solidarity with our brethren in Africa, strongly condemn and denounce the cruel, senseless and gruesome xenophobic slaughter of foreign nationals and the looting of their properties in South Africa,” read a petition signed by 15 civil society groups.

“Why (are they) killing them? They came in peace”, “One Africa for all Africans” and “Save our brothers and sisters from xenophobia” read some of the placards at the Harare protest.

The violence started in Durban three weeks ago, after Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini was reported last month to have said foreigners should leave the country. He has since claimed he was misinterpreted.

Durban has a large number of Zulu speakers loyal to the king.

More than 1,000 people have been forced by the wave of violence to seek safety in camps.

Mozambique and Malawi have also announced they would help their citizens return home.

*Source AFP/Yahoo]]>

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