Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
16 Jun 2021
11:09 am

‘We are not xenophobic’ – Soweto residents protest against ‘illegal’ traders

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

The EFF says people who are protesting against foreign nationals have a misguided understanding of the root cause of poverty and unemployment in South Africa.

Foreign nationals evicted at old Diepkloof Post office in Soweto, 16 June 2021. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Soweto residents say they will use Youth Day to demonstrate against undocumented foreign nationals who own spaza shops in the area.

Diepkloof community leader Zandile Dabula said the protesters were not xenophobic, and only wanted undocumented foreign nationals to leave the country.

“We’ll demonstrate because we sent out letters informing the illegal traders in Johannesburg because as South Africans, we basically have nothing because they have taken everything. They have taken businesses and they’re being employed here. So we just want to demonstrate so they can leave South Africa,” Dabula told eNCA.

“Let them be documented, we’re not xenophobic or anything but can they also adhere to the rules and regulations of South Africa because everything that’s happening around here is illegal.”

However, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says people who are protesting against foreign nationals have a misguided understanding of the root cause of poverty and unemployment in South Africa.

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“Spaza shops and retail outlets in the township do not constitute a economic threat in this country and to demonise these forms of entrepreneurship only seeks to embolden large scale entities of capital,” said the party.

“The problem in South Africa is not the informal economy of entrepreneurs, regardless of their nationality. It is the monopolisation of wealth by a white minority, in land, agricultural and minerals productions. It is this government’s failure to industrialise, create jobs, build housing and provide education that results in the conditions that define black life in South Africa.”

It said South Africans must direct their anger towards the government by voting it out, calling on the protesters to refrain from attacking foreign nationals.

“The EFF calls on all members of society to refrain from being consumed by narrow-nationalism that makes the poor believe that their poverty is created by other poor people.”

The party also sent out a warning to its members that should anyone be found participating, they should consider their membership cancelled.