The City of Johannesburg is to establish a special committee on xenophobia to promote inclusive and peaceful coexistence between foreign nationals and South Africans.
The idea emanated from what Johannesburg City Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba called “productive meeting that he held with Nigerian Consul-General Godwin Adam in Rivonia, Sandton, Tuesday. The meeting mapped out a way forward to address xenophobia within Johannesburg, and the two sides agreed to work together for the benefit of their people.
“We stressed the importance of working in collaboration to address the problem of xenophobia and prevent attacks such as those we have seen in the past. We agreed that we all want to live in a peaceful society where the rule of law is respected and upheld,” Mashaba said in statement yesterday.
He committed the City to working towards establishing a special committee that would advance the vision of an inclusive and peaceful Joburg society. As a starting point, the City would enhance its Migrant Help Desk to assist migrant communities to integrate in the local society, as well as advancing public awareness against xenophobia in all its forms.
Mashaba, who was recently criticised by ANC-aligned structures for calling on foreigners to leave the city, has since issued a statement embracing foreigners and welcoming them into the city. He said foreigners were victims of envious locals who were frustrated by lack of jobs that they were promised by the ANC.
The mayor undertook to invite diplomatic corp leaders across the continent to a joint meeting to address xenophobia. “I will take this opportunity to express the City of Joburg’s position on migration and work together to address xenophobia. Johannesburg is made of many diverse communities. Indeed, it is a city built by migrants from across the world. I reiterate, I welcome all people from across the world to the City of Johannesburg.”
He said as crime levels had increased in Johannesburg, his fight was against the scourge of criminality
“Crime knows no nationality, ethnicity or race. Thus we must all work together to create an integrated and safe society for all resident to live, work and play. Essential to this is respect for the rule of law. These sentiments are supported by the Nigerian Consulate,” Mashaba said.
“I am on record imploring Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba to work together with this administration to find solutions to our challenges. This is in line with the spirit of cooperative governance espoused within the Constitution.”
Mashaba said he invited Gigaba to work together with his administration to find solutions to migration challenges in the City, but his invitations and letters had been declined and ignored by the minister. ”
“Let us not be fooled; xenophobia is a deep-rooted and long-standing problem in society. National government must finally acknowledge its role in creating this problem; it has failed to address South Africa’s high unemployment and crime rate.”