Attacking Immigrants Not Patriotic

Former president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki has said that those who organise and participate in attacks on immigrants must know there is absolutely nothing revolutionary, progressive or patriotic in these criminal activities.

"Those who organise and participate in these attacks, which must stop, must know there is absolutely nothing revolutionary, progressive or patriotic, acceptable or of service to the people in what are in fact criminal activities," said Mbeki.

Xenophobic Violence on the Rise

Groups representing immigrant communities in South Africa said they fear a recent upsurge in anti-foreigner sentiment could spark a recurrence of xenophobic attacks that rocked the country in 2008 and 2015.

“Foreigners are being portrayed as criminals,” Marc Gbaffou, chairman of the African Diaspora Forum, said by phone on Wednesday. “This is a very disturbing situation. Our members are really concerned” that more attacks are imminent.

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba in November accused the national government of opening South Africa’s borders to “criminality.”

Municipality Closes Last Refugee Camp

The eThekwini municipality has announced the closure of the last camp in Durban for those displaced by xenophobic violence.

The Chatsworth camp was home to foreign nationals who were displaced during the violent attacks earlier this year.

City spokesperson, Tozi Mthethwa, says the foreign nationals were informed about the closure, adding that, “The aim of establishing the interim shelter was to protect the displaced African immigrants from the then volatile situation they faced back in their communities."

Xenophobia Discussed at SADC

South Africa has continued to face questions about the recent xenophobic violence directed at African immigrants.

The issue was raised during a discussion on migration on the side-lines of the 37th Session of the South African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum meeting in Durban.

MSF Criticises Govt Over ‘Operation Fiela’

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says that South African government’s treatment of foreign nationals through Operation Fiela, while publicly denouncing xenophobia, is a ‘festering contradiction’.

MSF is concerned that the raids by the police, military and the Department of Home Affairs in [the] wake of the xenophobic violence erodes trust and exposes a contradiction.

Refugees Left Out in the Cold

Foreigners living in a temporary shelter at Isipingo Beach, south of Durban, following April 2015 xenophobic attacks have put up their own shacks after the eThekwini municipality removed the tents they were living in.
Spokesperson for the refugees at the camp, Daniel Dunia, states that, “Government officials removed everything over the weekend and told us to leave the camp,” adding that, “The situation is very bad here. There is no food, or anything, as the officials are blocking donors who want to come in and offer assistance.”

Dlamini-Zuma Condemns Violent Attacks

African Union Commission chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, says that nothing warrants the senseless attacks on people, no matter what the challenges.

Dlamini-Zuma, who describes the attacks of foreign nationals in the province of KwaZulu-Natal as ‘unacceptable, is calling for an immediate halt, while expressing ‘deep concerns’.

MPs Freed to Fight Xenophobia

Parliament has suspended its plenary sittings for next week to allow MPs to go to their constituencies and combat xenophobia.

Important portfolio committee meetings tasked with passing the budget in time will continue‚ but full plenary meetings of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces have been suspended to free up MPs.
The decision was taken by the multi-party chief whips' forum this week and has the support of all major political parties.

Groups Urge Govt to Tackle Xenophobia

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and the International Federation for Human Rights are calling on the government to reinforce their human rights-based legal framework in order to prevent and redress human rights violations against migrants.

LHR spokesperson, Patricia Erasmus, points out that there are too many misconceptions about foreigners, adding that, "It does not take into account the circumstances under which people document themselves in South Africa.”


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