Gauteng’s Township Economy Bill will fuel xenophobia, warns DA

The DA says Gauteng government needed to build inclusive communities where residents benefited from each other instead of 'segregating people on the basis of nationality'. Picture: AFP

‘We should not see foreign nationals as a threat, but as partners in rebuilding our ailing economy,’ the party says.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Gauteng region has warned that the provincial government’s proposed Township Economy Bill would fuel xenophobia.

In a statement, DA MPL Makashule Gana said on Monday that the proposed Bill was looking to “drive foreign nationals out of townships” and noted the party’s concern.

Gana explained that the Gauteng government needed to build inclusive communities where residents benefited from each other instead of “segregating people on the basis of nationality”.

“The manner in which the Bill has being put forward is reminiscent of apartheid spatial planning, which seeks to have designated areas of trade and living for people based on nationality,” the party said.

“This is contrary to the principles of democracy, the Constitution as well as what is set out in the Immigration Act, which makes sure that foreign nationals living in the country are afforded rights in South Africa.”

Gana continued to say: “In its current form, the Bill discriminates against foreign nationals and fuels xenophobia in our communities at a time when we need each other.

“The Bill has also not considered the changed nature of where South Africans live and work; it also has the potential to encourage fronting and drive township enterprises underground, resulting in more informality in the economy.”

He furthermore suggested that entities like the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller could be used to assist township businesses to acquire the necessary skills needed to grow.

“The DA believes that we should not see foreign nationals in South Africa as a threat, but as partners in rebuilding our ailing economy. This is an opportunity for skills and knowledge transfer,” he said.

Gana added that the DA was urging the public to look out for the Bill once it’s due for parliament processes.

“The DA will be making comprehensive input on the Bill and once it has been tabled before the portfolio committee we will call on the public to comment on it.”

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