Uncivilized South African Xenophobic attacks

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By Prof. Michelo Hansungule
The main problem on xenophobia is government. King Zwelatin of the Zulu people called on foreigners to go home where they came from, regardless (http://citizen.co.za/news/news-national/349347/foreigners-must-go-home-king-zwelithini/). Jocob Zuma’s son, Edward, (http://www.zimeye.net/zumas-son-supports-king-zwelithinis-shocking-statements/) supported the king. President Zuma did not condemn the king or his son. Instead, he said his son is an adult capable of making his own decisions.
South African Human Rights Commission Chairman Lawrence Mushwana did not castigate King Zwelatin (http://www.ann7.com/zwelithini-remarks-problematic-but-not-hate-speech-sahrc/). Instead, he said the King committed no offence.  Johannesburg Democratic Alliance Mayor Herman Mashaba blamed foreigners for high crime rates in Johannesburg (https://malawi24.com/2016/12/06/johannesburg-mayor-fire-xenophobic-comments-malawians-immigrants/). This is despite statistics clearly showing crime is mostly committed by local South Africans. ts all hogwash. 
 
The only person who made a statement is lowly ranking Gauteng Premier David Makhura who in his state of the province address called on local South Africans to not attack or blame foreigners for South Africa’s problems( http://mg.co.za/article/2017-02-20-gauteng-state-of-the-province-address-what-you-need-to-know). The problem started during the tenure of president Thabo Mbeki. Despite his pan-African sentiments, Mbeki, nevertheless, refrain from openly condemning xenophobia and instead called it criminal attacks (http://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/app/uploads/2010/07/4_What_happened_c.pdf). This started the impunity that foreigners (African foreigners) experience in South Africa today. Government did not come out to call xenophobia as such and based on that to move swiftly and strongly to punish it. Following 2008 xenophobic attacks, a few people were rounded up but charged with various common law offences as there was and still is no offence of xenophobia. Instead of attacking it head on, both Mbeki and Zuma government play politics with xenophobia refusing to confront local population for fear they will lose votes if they did. Even after a Mozambican national was burned alive in 2008 and several foreigners after that killed in macabre acts of naked violence, government continued to sing and dance with the xenophobic attackers and orchestrators.
 
Need I go into the history of the ANC and of the liberation struggle in Africa? No, I need not. The problem is so palpably clear for anyone who wants to see and know, it is due to bad governance. Because Africans have not really freely chosen their representatives especially the president, they cannot demand full and effective accountability from these public office holders. If elections are not blatantly rigged, constitutions are changed willy-nilly just to keep power in the hands of the incumbent leader or in his preferred ‘successor’. What does all this mean on xenophobia? Because leaders are not accountable to their people, they concentrate not on issues affecting their people but only on interests affecting them. They run selfish governments whose primary aim is to enrich themselves. They just never think about people and if it ever happens that people benefit, it is coincidental rather than well-orchestrated thoroughly thought out policy.    
 
Every well-meaning African government, the UN, AU and other international organisations should condemn South African government for flirting with xenophobic killers and attackers. Government should be made to realise that this is not how to run government in modern times. The role of government is to protect all those who live in it. This is the philosophy of the 1955 ANC Freedom Charter which is now just a statement on paper. 
 
Michelo Hansungule is a Professor of Law at  the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa 

 

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11 Responses to Uncivilized South African Xenophobic attacks

  1. South Africans are savages, always have been. Zuma is a disgusting waste of air. Very soon the world will leave South Africa to its fate, that of a declining hate filled country. Perhaps apartheid was right. How the whites must be laughing at them.

    Sam
    February 25, 2017 at 2:02 am
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  2. The problem is with themselves not foreigners.
    From the time of apartheid the issue is inequality between the two races.
    Where whites are living in heaven right there;the blacks are living in hell in the same country.
    They are confused so blame their own brothers.
    They are destroyed people, it will take long to come out of this foolishness.

    nshilimubemba
    February 25, 2017 at 10:54 am
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  3. Zambia would have helped in SA, but with the rot of leadership we have, Africa/Southern Africa will be headed for disaster!

    Keen Follower
    February 25, 2017 at 5:44 pm
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  4. Xenophobia is a product of ignorance. South Africans especially black people cannot explain why immigrants are coming to their country to look for job opportunities when unemployment is high among South African youths. The question the South Africans should be asking themselves is why are South African employers preferring foreign workers?
    The saddest situation though, which the author has raised, is why the South African government has not condemned the xenophobia. Really shameful. Hopefully the Nigerians will speak out. Nigeria, despite having been tucked far away in the back of the head of the African continent, joined the “frontline states” to support the ANC and other liberation movements in South Africa in persuading the West and the rest of the world to put sanctions on apartheid South Africa. Nigeria did more than calling and lobbying for sanctions. For those who were already above 10 years in the 1970’s in Zambia will recall how many times Zambian bridges and other infrastructures as far as Northern province were bombed by the SADF and the Rhodesian Airforces for supporting ANC. Zimbabweans today only talk of Mozambique as their base for fighting Ian Smith’s government. The reason is simply because the current president of Zimbabwe operated from Mozambique while his rival- to be, Joshua Nkomo operated from Zambia. Both countries, Mozambique and Zambia were equally bombed and their economies suffocated by South Africa and Rhodesia. African politics. Had the victors in Second World War, USA, USSR and UK been African countries, the USSR would not have been part of the victorious allies. Now African countries want to ditch the ICC because it provides a forum for dictators and corrupt leaders to be prosecuted. What a continent!

    Leadership is a serious matter
    February 26, 2017 at 6:22 am
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  5. For black South Africans the meaning of foreigner is anyone black who is South African. That already tells black South Africans are idiots. Boycotting South African good brought apartheid to its knees. Boycotting South African products will end xenophobia.

    Real
    February 26, 2017 at 6:25 am
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    • I think so.let’s do a trade embargo on Afrophobic south Africa

      Adult China man
      March 1, 2017 at 7:25 am
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  6. Africans are a cursed race, sorry to say. Human beings generally have a combination of weaknesses and strengths. Not so with Africans, we have a combination of weaknesses. The worst among them; selfishness and being easily manipulated. The winner and cheerleader in this saga is the white South African and just to be sure, I am not blaming him here. But as long as the blacks have all their attention and ire directed at their fellow black so called foreigners, the white guy is home and dry, enjoying his wealth, 80% of the country’s wealth in his hands. I can safely guesstimate that black foreigners in South Africa hold not more than 2% of the wealth in that country, which could actually be an overestimation. So my advice to South Africans is to compare 2% to 80% and decide which share you want to fight for

    webman
    February 27, 2017 at 12:36 am
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  7. The acrophobic king is called Zwelithini not Zwelatin

    Adult China man
    March 1, 2017 at 7:21 am
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  8. I meant Afrophobic

    Adult China man
    March 1, 2017 at 7:22 am
    Reply

  9. First and foremost,I strongly condemn the xenophobic attacks,not only in South Africa,but anywhere, where it shows it’s ugly head.
    The Boers in South Africa made a huge mistake by first introducing apartheid.They gave reason to the segregated groups,especially the blacks in South Africa and the rest of the world,to unite against them under all forms of cartels and organisations to fight them.They banked on their clutch on political and economical power to remain in control.That was a blunder.They tried to defend their ideology through oppression,militarily and otherwise,but that could not be sustained.Interestingly though,one of the reasons they gave was that,they could not give-up everything to people who had demonstrated high levels of irresponsibility,and had no conviction nor what it took to rule South Africa.They had (Boers) sacrificed so much,to make South Africa what it was now (then).They went on to say that,these people who are making so much noise (blacks) wanting to rule South Africa,were only interested in themselves and to take away everything that the whites had worked for.
    When you look at such sentiments,and compare with what is happening now,indeed these words have come to pass.You see no conviction nor direction in the ANC hence their silence when foreigners are being blamed for the govt’s failure to distribute the country’s wealth to the majority blacks who have remained in poverty.The rain-ball nation,a land of plenty has become an illusion to many.

    Open society.
    March 1, 2017 at 7:25 pm
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  10. South Africa need to be kicked out of Commonwealth and AU.
    Trump is better than South Africa. Trump doesnt kill but he only chase people who are practising terrorism

    joseph Mwape
    March 15, 2017 at 6:56 am
    Reply

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