2012 marked the 11th anniversary of World Refugee Day, commemorated every year on 20 June. Thousands of people take time to recognise and compliment the input of people forcibly uprooted from their homes and displaced throughout the world. The annual tribute is noted by an array of events in many countries, incorporating humanitarian workers, civilians, government officials and refugees and asylum seekers.
The Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has urged government to create more jobs, build more houses and change its foreign policy to end xenophobia.
The Centre’s Patrick Bond points out that, “More and more refugees from Zimbabwe, Somalia and other parts of Africa are pouring into South Africa and are creating havoc in the country.”
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has recommended to the portfolio committee on justice and constitutional development that government set up special courts to deal with xenophobia-related cases.
The SAHRC, which presented its findings on research into the aftermath of the 2008 xenophobic attacks, found that victims of xenophobia had not received proper justice because there were so few convictions related to the attacks.
The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) has urged the government to strengthen its capacity to detect threats of xenophobic violence and to provide a centralised national contact telephone number for reporting threats or outbreaks of such attacks.
CoRMSA advocacy officer, Duncan Breen, points out that all available intelligence sources need to be used to deal with the ‘credible’ threat against foreign nationals.
A group of eminent global leaders called the ‘Elders’ says xenophobia may erupt in South Africa after the FIFA World Cup as jobs start becoming scarcer.
Former Ireland president, Mary Robinson, points out that, "I think everyone recognises that with having the World Cup in South Africa there are concerns."
Robinson says that, "We are more worried after the World Cup, the possibilities of xenophobia... construction jobs fall away and people, especially from Zimbabwe, will be looking for jobs.”
On 25 May, the continent, along with Africans all over the world, celebrated Africa Day. In most corners, it is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity and richness of African culture. In South Africa, Africa Day is taking on special significance as the nation prepares to ‘welcome the world’ to the FIFA World Cup.
The fears come after Atteridgeville residents attacked two Somali spaza shops on Monday night.
The attacks occurred after security workers, contracted by the Tshwane Metro Council, tore down 550 shacks at Itireleng settlement, next to Laudium, on Monday.
The shacks were demolished after the landowners, Pretoria Portland Cement, obtained a court order in December to have the land invaders evicted.
The Western Cape government is more concerned about the media than the well-being of the De Doorns xenophobia victims. This is according to People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP).
In a press statement, PASSOP says that Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, and her MECs, have not yet apologised to the refugees for the pain they have suffered.
The organisation further says, "Provincial government... is concerned only for some miraculous reintegration in order to avoid further embarrassment."
The South African Red Cross Society has launched a R2 million appeal for emergency support for xenophobia refugees at De Doorns in the Western Cape.
The organisation is also calling on all South Africans to stand together for humanity.
The appeal comes as negotiators meet representatives of the local community in a bid to resolve tensions.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, has announced that his department is finalising an integration strategy encompassing induction training for asylum seekers and refugees.
Gigaba, who maintains that South Africa has no provision for the ‘basic induction’ of foreigners, says the proposed training will provide answers to such questions as “what is SA, what is its constitution, human rights, languages, and what type of people do we have?”