South Africa’s Xenophobic Attacks

We, more than many other nations, should know better. We should know better because we have just emerged from more than three centuries of the horror of settler colonialism and apartheid… This madness has to stop. There is simply no justification for attacking people simply because they are not South African nationals.

Editorial, City Press

 

But xenophobic violence continued today, especially in the townships around Johannesburg. The police (SAPS) who had previously warned of a growing undercurrent of xenophobic unrest have accused criminal elements of hijacking the issues which have caused these attacks and worsening the situation. And while the police responded to the trouble with rubber bullets and tear gas, they have regularly come under fire from live ammunition. 

Burning man 
Immigrant alight (BBC)

 Section 201 of South Africa’s Constitution allows for the army to be called in by the President to assist the SAPS: 

Only the President, as head of the national executive, may authorise the employment of the defence force ­… in co-operation with the police service; 

 I would suggest that the time for that decision has already passed. With every news bulletin, we are hearing of more problems, more casualties, more deaths. However, whether Mbeki will (for once?) act decisively in this situation remains to be seen.

 Now there is the distinct possibility that the situation will spread to other cities across SA, including Cape Town

About 30 Somali shopkeepers trading and living in Du Noon have received warning letters telling them to leave the area, fuelling fears that xenophobic attacks occurring in Johannesburg could spread to Cape Town.

It seems likely that this situation will certainly get worse before it gets better. In fact, listening to the news on the radio, it’s getting worse even as I write this. Once again, huge negative publicity for South Africa and huge issues for the 3-5 million (depending whose figures you believe) immigrants in this country at the moment. And what choice for the Zimbabwean immigrants particularly – starvation in their own country or the threat of violence in this new home.

I’m sorry. I don’t have any answers. Even deploying the army in these hotspots will only see the trouble move elsewhere and does nothing to cure the underlying issues which have led to this situation.
“Send them back where they came from” suggests to these people that violence is the answer. It surely isn’t.
And me? An immigrant here myself – “taking their jobs”.  I’m just glad that I am where I am and not facing what those less fortunate than me are facing right now.

More on this issue will surely follow over the next few days on here as the situation develops. Don’t miss out.

43 thoughts on “South Africa’s Xenophobic Attacks

  1. You’re writing from the U.K. ??
    If so; then when you write that ‘you r TAKING their jobs
    ” the “THEY” to whom you refer are receiving the ‘dole’ .

    Here: No work – no money.. ..

    ANYway; I agree with you -> should this escalate and (God-forbid!!) it come to kwaZulu-Natal, W Cape, etcetra .. is it near-proportion-Civil War..?? hell!

  2. I must admit to having been a little concerned when I read this, as I still have family living in Johannesburg, and I know just how far (or close) the townships are.

    I also heard that Mbeki would be arranging an inquiry… nothing about “I have the powers to stop this thing, so I’ll use it”!! Does the man actually have a backbone??

    Helga Hansen’s last blog post was: Today You Are Twenty One (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  3. I’m worried about it too, and I live in JHB!
    It’s very distressing to listen to my colleagues stories at the moment.

    As for the army, I sincerely doubt he’ll call on them. According to the radio today, they’ll only be used if the police ask for help.

    Jenty’s last blog post was: Heard on the radio (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  4. Hanlie – reports of 22 deaths this evening.

    Dean – I’m in Cape Town. And yes, unemployment and poverty are rife – and they may well be the driving force behind this whole situation, but that doesn’t excuse it. That said, there’s evidently work out there if the immigrants have jobs.

    Helga – The idea of a panel of experts sitting down to discuss this is laughable. That’s not “action”.

    Jenty – I also doubt TM will bring in the army. But at what point does he say “enough is enough”?

  5. This is a replay of what is taking place at the moment in Zimbabwe.
    The media in Zimbabwe is run by the Mugabe regime, which has recently been outvoted. Genocide is expected to erupt in Zimbabwe soon.
    Thank God for press freedonm in South Africa.

    Sonny Cox’s last blog post was: Gauteng violence takes govt ‘by surprise’ (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  6. This is shocking and I also fear it will get much worse before it gets better or anything gets done.

    However we are not the only country to have xenophobic attacks. I seem to recall that Australia had youths running rampant, burning shops and beating up people. I don’t think there were any deaths though? And their government acted quickly. Which ever country it is in and who ever the attacks are against it is terrible and should not be tolerated.

    Pamela’s last blog post was: A three for one special (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  7. I must say that I am not so proud of being a South African right now. It pains me to see we as black people making our own suffer like this. I have lost all confidence in our government.

  8. It’s buffling how Southern Africa is in Trouble. But moreso how Mbeki remains calm in the face of such. l’d rather stay home. SA remains a very volatile environment

  9. Is the only difference between today and a few weeks ago the fact that it is now hitting international news???

    How many murders are there on a daily basis? How many rapes? How many (white, black, Indian) people suffer mercilessly at the hands of criminals on a daily basis there?

    How many of us South Africans living in Europe, live here because this is NOT NEWS TO US!

    I’m sorry for what is happening in SA. Very sorry.

    But I am “happy” that the rest of the world is finally taking notice of something that has been a problem for years!

    This is not news. This was “day-to-day” life for many of us when we were still in SA – wasn’t it?

  10. @Ricardo: You were moved on from your shack and set alight because you were from Zimbabwe on a daily basis?
    No wonder you left.

    Stop being so melodramatic.

  11. I might not be a South African

    But I’m black, my skin is the same as yours
    My colour is the same as yours
    My genes are African, nothing but African
    When your leaders were beaten by whites
    I was there to shelter them
    I was patient with them
    I offered them food, shelter,
    Most of all, I offered them protection

    I might be a South African

    I can’t speak Zulu, cause I’m Vhenda
    I can’t speak Zulu, cause I’m Shangaan
    I don’t know what an elbow is in Zulu
    As much as you don’t know it in my language
    Since when was Zulu the only South African language?
    Yes……………I’m not from Gauteng
    I was not born here, but I’m South African
    Where should I go if you beat me
    I’m not beating your father, mother, brother or sister who works at my area in the mines
    I’m not calling them makwerekwere though they can’t speak my language.

    I might be dark in complexion

    I might have the foreigners looks
    I might have the foreigners body structure
    Now I am scared to go to the only place that I call home
    I’m scared of working down the street without my ID
    Whites wanted me to do that centuries ago
    Now you, my black brother is acting white

    Why should you Black South Africans do this?

    What makes you think that you better than me?
    Who told you that I’m responsible for your unemployment?
    Who told you that I’m less human
    If I need to go back to Vhenda……..let all the Zulus go back to KZN
    Let all the Tswana’s go back to Botswana
    Let all the Sotho’s go back to Lesotho
    Let all the Ndebele’s go back to Kwandebele
    Let all the Xhosa’s go back to Eastern Cape
    Yes…………let all the Swati’s go back to Swaziland

    Is this not ignorance?

    Your unemployment is your responsibility
    Use your intellect
    Get up and work
    Let education empower you
    Seek humanity

    Before 1994 you blamed whites
    Now you are blaming me
    Who are you going to blame after chasing me away?
    Who are you going to blame after killing me?

    For what it’s worth…………………..

    I’m sorry I was not born here
    I’m sorry I can’t speak Zulu
    I’m sorry for being too dark for your Joburg
    I’m sorry for cleaning the toilets you don’t want to clean
    I’m sorry for doing your garden
    I’m sorry for repairing your shoes
    I’m sorry for protecting your leaders while they were in Exile
    Yes…………………what you call Exile………..is my country
    And most of all…….I’m sorry for building South African infrastructure

    Please my brothers let there be peace and prosperity amongst black African people.

    Written by a Teary Black African………………….

    Sonny Cox’s last blog post was: Cops are not in control of crime (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  12. I’ve been watching all this and unfortunately I’m surprised it hasnt happened sooner. The SA government had this coming, Mbeki needs to go and go NOW. I spent two years unemployed in SA (and I have 2 degrees and work experience before emigrating) I was a die hard SA’er. But now understanding the psychological torment of not being able to land work and quite simply having nothing to do, I know why these people have gone on a crazy murdering rampage. Deprivation leads to insanity something that will make no sense until one experiences it!! If these people all had the hope which work brings this would never have happened. I blame the government 100% while they have fiddled around with BEE (which will never bring enough jobs) fought internally about this and that, been corrupt, denied problems like aids, zimbabwe and crime these, now murdering people, have been sliding down the deprived insanity hole. Instead government could have spent all the money and time that they have wasted on making policies that get skilled people and business to create more business. Lack of vision and leadership. If a company has a rotten CEO and management it dies. Same with a country. I hope for SA with my heart but my mind doesnt agree anymore.

  13. Sonny has received a comment from an ex Pa…..

    Author: Craig
    Comment:
    I’ve been watching all this and unfortunately I’m surprised it hasnt happened sooner. The SA government had this coming, Mbeki needs to go and go NOW. I spent two years unemployed in SA (and I have 2 degrees and work experience before emigrating) I was a die hard SA’er. But now understanding the psychological torment of not being able to land work and quite simply having nothing to do, I know why these people have gone on a crazy murdering rampage. Deprivation leads to insanity something that will make no sense until one experiences it!! If these people all had the hope which work brings this would never have happened. I blame the government 100% while they have fiddled around with BEE (which will never bring enough jobs) fought internally about this and that, been corrupt, denied problems like aids, zimbabwe and crime these, now murdering people, have been sliding down the deprived insanity hole. Instead government could have spent all the money and time that they have wasted on making policies that get skilled people and business to create more business. Lack of vision and leadership. If a company has a rotten CEO and management it dies. Same with a country. I hope for SA with my heart but my mind doesnt agree anymore.

    Sonny Cox’s last blog post was: A revolution of rising expectations (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  14. pamela – the ‘riots’ in australia were unbelievable – just like how i remember the hillbrow nightclubs in the 80’s the lebs & whoever was up for it… basically they hit each other with handbags… yes oz has gang warfare over drugs & hooligans & as social breakdown of society all over the world (read the tipping point) it will get worse. you cannot compare it to what happened in SA. random murder is rare & taken really seriously & retribution is swift 80% of stolen cars are recovered. the last random murder here had 8 page spread in the newspaper (it was a lawyer defending a domestic violence victim) I keep it because I could not believe the fuss the country made over 1 random murder 8 pages!! with full pictures & the guy was caught.

  15. I’m asking myself if South Africa is not part of Africa….and if only zulu speaking people are South Africans….or only xhosa speaking people are SA’ns….couse even BAvenda AND other tribes are expiriencing xenophobia…yes i am a south african and more an AFRICAN, WHAT MAKES US “SOUTH AFRICANS” different from other africans cause we are Black…

  16. I am ashamed to say that i am a South African, what is happening to the country? When will all this end… will it end? South Africa will be worse than Zimbabwe, people kill each other why? Everyone has a right to live, no matter where you are from or what colour you are… i cannot put into words how angry i am… you are taking another human beings life, how would you feel if i killed your brother, sister father or brother? How would you feel if you were in another country trying too make a better life for yourself and you get killed for it? You will suffer one day, just wait and see, God will not let you go unpunished for these gruesome sins!!!!! May God be with all the foreigners and the rest of our families in South Africa…

  17. i really do not support xenophobia attack. if we do not want refuges in our country, we must just say it and find another way of approaching this problem, i don not want to see my fellow african being tortured. i am a south african citizen from Lwamondo in Thohoyandou

  18. @Matodzi: “Especially against our fellow African people?”
    So, do you consider it more acceptable against people from other continents then?

  19. Xenophobic Regret
    The piece I wrote with regret

    I can still hear myself shouting, singing,
    I can still hear myself sayin’ “ f*ckof, This is not your home”
    All I thought was, “we just are threatening them” until………….
    Until I saw objects being thrown at him….
    Until I saw him being kicked everywhere…
    Until I saw blood running out of his nose, ears, eyes, arms, legs
    Then reality hit me and I began to realise…………

    Read more from the Teary Black African http://splakaveli.blogspot.com/

  20. you’ll never understand or see me like a human being if you’ve no love for others. if you’ve love thats freedom
    I can feel this guy 6000 I guess it 666 where he belong
    very simple stupid black that need facility. be happy for what you did to us last year that still crying hope you’ll find a job and food on your front door. (keep blaming ntil you’ll blame your own son if he wasnt there you’d get more food)pussy guy have nice day

  21. IF U DONT COME FROM HERE THEN U SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM HERE OTHERWISE SHIT WILL HIT THE FAN, FUCKER

  22. I worked with the humanitarian efforts for the displaced people last year- for about six months- writing memorandum after memorandum to government, who clearly don’t give a hoot about the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Human Rights.
    The myth of the rainbow nation was exposed. Horribly. I can’t believe people such as the guy above actually exist. It’s not common to all South Africans, but there is a lack of respect for each other as humans which exists. Frankly, it’s terrifying. Collective sociopathy?

    Scott´s last blog post was: Not Exactly Victoria’s Secret (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  23. But what they are doing is wrong, the government did give them houses for a very small fee is they did apply for them, and well, a lot of the people misused this chance and had fake ID’s made just so that they could own more of the very cheap houses, and rent them out for a extra income, also, How can you steal their Jobs if they don’t qualify for it ? You get what you qualify for isn’t that how things work ? I am in the area’s where the attacks take place and they are somewhat brutal, My family and I are also foreign but I myself was born in SA… so yeah, It isn’t really the right path and the more they do this, the less our chances will be for peace and co-operation in South Africa, the so called “Rainbow Nation” well… there is no “Rainbow” here at this moment…

  24. it is true that unemployment is too high in South Africa and xenophobia will never be a solution to the the unemployment in question. How could a reasonable person be jealous of his or her fellow African? i personaly recomend a sort of a lecture on human rights to our citizens that will actually assist a lot especially in respect, equality and treating everyone with respect and dignity. our president must engage himselt in creating jobs for the youth.

  25. few weeks ago some of our citizen attacked zimbabwean accusing them for theft and housebreaking commited here in limpopo, we must stop hiding behind crime. South Africa is a democratic country.

  26. i as a south african am not in favour nor against the xenophobic attacks. though i also feel pity for my fellow “brothers” and “sisters” but i also believe that south africa cannot carter for all of them nor all their needs. we should keep in mind that south africa is still a developing country, which has its own economic “lickages” and we are not financialy strong to accomodate them.

  27. Now that our ‘Press Freedom” and Freedom of Speech is also being threatened by the State……
    Is a ‘Police State or One Party Government’ the next phase in SA politics?
    How long can the ANC still last?

  28. hello! Africa this is our time to show unity among ourselves as Africans.Let us all fulfil legal requirements of being in South Africa. Fellow internatiol brothers and sisters must obey south africa’s laws and regulations before entering our country, and within our country they should act ethical.

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