MOTHERLY LOVE . . . Zimbabwean Beauty Mpofu playing with her baby in Bokfontein. In the midst of the brutal and senseless mob attacks meted out against foreign nationals in Alexandra and Reiger Park residents of Bokfontein were last week celebrating the presence of foreigners in their township. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya (Taken from online City Press dated 17/05/2008)
As violent xenophobic clashes that have claimed at least 42 lives spread from Gauteng to Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the "involvement" of the military. It is claimed that the attack that took place in Kwa-Zulu Natal was not based on xenophobia but on politics and I really fail to distinguish between xenophobia and politics especially when the victim is not a South African. SA Catholic Bishops’Conference president Buti Tlhagale described the xenophobic attacks as “new apartheid mentality”.
Looking briefly in the history of South Africa, not so long ago we had our own refugees in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola to name but few. These people went to exile in order to ensure better future for South Africans. What is interesting is the way they were accepted in those countries, they were fed, given a place to stay, were educated and impowered. This was all done legally with great care and control.
Comparing this period to the crisis we facing in South Africa today I really see something different. Firstly, I want to say that I have been keeping the future of SA closer under my eyes and noted that South Africans are not happy with other people who are not South Africans,people such as Nigerians, Somalians, Chines and Parkistans. This is not something new in SA but started long time ago, we have seen them being burned in their houses, burning their businesses,killing them-shocking happening that took place in various parts of SA.
Now the issue is with our neighbours, I know there are many justifications around violating these people, they take our jobs-some will claim! they take our girlfriends, we do not have a place to stay because of these people, but is brutal killing really a solution? Well! I would like to put blame on the government for this crisis!It is esteemated to about 3 million refugees who are in South Africa today and the number is expected to increase. Only few - if any - of there people are legally allowed to be here, note that I do not mean that they must not be allowed but pointing that the government failed to properly control this immigration. In fact there's no crisis in South Africa!
Since I have been watching my this country closely I am really not amazed of what is happening and I really do not believe that military will do the job of managing refugees properly unless there will be a river of blood across South African streets. South Africa it-self is not well developed, it is very poor, amazingly the government says that refugees has to be given a space to live. where exactly? people lives in only three room RDP houses with family of more than 10 people while those living in suburbs finish moths without visiting other rooms in their houses because they are too many to count-why they do not take these people to their houses? With the little food that South Africans have they have to share with these brothers-what is the govenrment doing about that?
South Africans might be lazy, as some people expressed their views in the post by Thanda, that is one reason, but what about the exploitation of these refugees? I know of a farm owner who chased all those who were living in his farm because of the South African Labour Law based on wages and employed these refugees because he knew that they were not legally allowed to be in SA. After they harvest was done guess what happened? He did not want to pay them and when they were complaining he just called the police and said that those people invaded his farm that morning and they were taken by trucks to the borders where they were left to find their way home. Well this sounds good because the farmer was clever enough to rob people of their rights but how good it is for humanity, for the spirit of ubuntu that SA always boast off?
This reminds me of the Rwandan genicode! Again I do not think that the military would be a solution to this matter, you really can not put out fire by petrol. The Lawyer for Human Rights had this to say in a statement "Such use of the military risks exacerbating the situation and creating a security environment similar to that continuously used prior to 1994. In any event, investigation of crime, public safety and the prosecution of crimes committed against foreigners require members who are trained in those areas. The military is not equipped to bring to book perpetrators of crimes against xenophobia victims,".Defence Ministry spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said there would be a military presence in the strife-hit areas "as soon as all that needs to be done is complete". My question is: who knows what will take place when where?
It is really bad because if your skin is darker you'll be burned. South Africa is the youngest to get freedom but the laws that it passed shocked the world and things that are happening are just another shock to the world,what else? If Mbeki is fit enough to intervene in Zimbabwe I think it would be much better to first sort out what is happening in South Africa unless "there is no crisis in South Africa". Taking into considerations that in our country there are many other people from various countries not only Zimbabwe and we are all human, they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity as human beings as well and any justification around xenophobia is just meaningless. The government need to take formal control as soon as possible before we see another genocide.
Have your say.