Mashaba weighs in on #NormaliseHiringSACitizens debate 

Graduates protest over the lack of jobs. Image: Twitter/@SiphiweMaphisa6

Meanwhile, the department of employment and labour is looking to formalise a new employment policy which will set the tone on the number of foreign nationals working in specific sectors of the economy.

Questions around the hiring of foreign nationals have surfaced, even sparking a debate on social media. The hashtag  #NormaliseHiringSACitizens trended on Tuesday, highlighting the complex argument in the country’s society, over the employment of foreign nationals.

Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, now Peoples Dialogue founder, jumped in on the online conversation to say the discussion indicated the pain some citizens felt in their country.

During his tenure as Johannesburg mayor, Mashaba was accused of fueling xenophobia with several of his views. The then mayor took huge criticism when he targeted most hijacked buildings, while also insisting at one point that no houses in the city would be built for foreign nationals.

“Right now, if anyone expects me when I build houses [to provide] free accommodation, I can assure you preference is going to be given to South Africans who have been on the waiting lists,” he said in a press briefing.

The mayor maintained he was not the mayor of the world, but the city’s, and would prioritise locals. This resulted in him coming under fire, with some accusing him of being xenophobic.

Mashaba is not the only one to ignite the topic around the hiring of foreign nationals as truck drivers only days ago downed tools calling for locals to be prioritised over foreign nationals.

While the EFF’s Julius Malema called for calm and understanding on the matter, truckers said government and the private sector were leaving many locals unemployed while foreign nationals drove trucks.

In a national shutdown protest, several trucks were set alight, leaving most drivers who were on duty in constant fear. Protesting truckers disrupted traffic but were thwarted by law enforcement who continued to put out fires of disorder in several parts of the country.

Protesting truckers, as a result, have threatened to destabilise the logistics industry if a resolution is not reached over the employment of foreign nationals.

Meanwhile, the department of employment and labour is looking to formalise a new employment policy which will set the tone on the number of foreign nationals working in specific sectors of the economy.

Should this policy fall through, it would mean government would dictate how many foreign nationals could be hired in specific sectors.

The hiring of foreign nationals apparently continues to be an unresolved issue as several on social media posed opposing views on the topic.

“How did we end up with government departments that hire foreigners while we have qualified, capable and willing South Africans? Is this even fair? Can our government please respond?” asked one user.

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