Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo
2 minute read
4 Apr 2019
9:30 am

When will the xenophobic bloodbath stop?

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo

Where is the government intervention that rolls out people trained and equipped with diagnostic tools to find a solution to xenophobia?

Congolese mourners came from all over South Africa for the funeral and burial of the three men. Here, their coffins are lowered into the ground at Zeerust Cemetery, 17 February 2019. Picture: Daylin Paul.

As a growing country, we must remember South Africa is no island – no matter the freedom enshrined in the Constitution or even the justice system.

Every time the country has a xenophobic flare-up, government takes great pains to try and convince not only South Africans but the rest of the world that these are not acts of a deep-rooted hatred for Africans of foreign descent. The government labels these “acts of criminality”.

How can our government officials travel to these countries, sign agreements and talk about our brothers and sisters, but allow a bloodbath of their people to continue unabated in our country?

Why is it that when a foreign soccer player is the main attraction for a team in the Premier Soccer League, his foreign descent is of no consequence?

Why are we selective in our acceptance of who may take up residence in our country?

And the idea that job opportunities are lost to South Africans because of the presence of foreigners is in itself without merit, yet our government has failed to put it into clearer context.

The truth is that South Africans feel they are spoilt for choice, not willing to start right at the bottom and work their way up. South Africans are not willing to sweep the streets before they can become a controller of the street sweeping department: for them, their rights start immediately with an air-conditioned corner office.

The government talks repeatedly of good neighbourly relations. When the political climate allows, we are a welcoming committee to those who come knocking at our door.

But when the tide turns and it’s time to score political points, the very same government refuses to take any action against undocumented and illegal immigrants.

Where is the government intervention that rolls out people trained and equipped with diagnostic tools to find a solution to xenophobia?

The intolerance is so blindingly obvious, but will continue unabated until government decides that there has been enough of a bloodbath.

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo.

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