Migrants protest Joburg mayor’s xenophobic stance

African migrants protest at Johannesburg Mayor's office for recent xenophobic utterances, picture, Gift Ndolwane, CAJ News

African migrants protest at Johannesburg Mayor’s office for recent xenophobic utterances, picture, Gift Ndolwane, CAJ News

JOHANNESBURG – SCORES of foreign nationals took to the streets and the city council offices to protest Mayor Herman Mashaba’s alleged recent xenophobic utterances.

The migrants, led by the African Diaspora Forum (ADF) handed over a memorandum to the Joburg’s Community Safety Member of the Mayoral Committee, Nonhlanhla Sifumba, detailing their list of grievances.

They mostly raised concern Mashaba’s sentiments could trigger another round of xenophobic violence similar to the the deadly 2008 xenophobic violence that left 62 foreign nationals dead and more than 200, 000 others displaced with property worth millions looted and destroyed.

After the protest on Monday, Sifumba received the memorandum on behalf of Mashaba who was said to be out of the city on council business.

ADF Chairman, Marc Gbaffou, who led the protesters, accused the Home Affairs systems of failing many visitors into the country arguing proper documentation should be extended to migrants.

“Many migrants are struggling to get their permits,” said Gbaffou.

He said some migrants qualified for South African residence after staying more than five years but yet could not secure the papers regularizing their stay in the country.

“The system is faulty and time must be given to fix the system. You (government) must not use your faulty system and blame it on your visitor,” he added.

He added relevant government departments were failing to take control of the country’s porous borders letting in undocumented foreign nationals.

He nonetheless said many migrants were earning an honest living through formal and informal businesses.

“Our mothers and sisters are selling mealie meal on the streets here, they just need to be managed by the mayor. They don’t deserve to to be treated as criminals, because they are not,” Gbaffou said.

Reacting to the protest, Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba said: “In creating any additional structures the primary aim should be to enable the department of home affairs and other departments to execute their core mandates with regard to immigration in an effective manner.”

Recently, Mashaba was widely-quoted as saying foreign nationals were behind some crimes in Johannesburg, Souh Africa’s commercial hub.

– CAJ News









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