Unemployment rate south africa reaction

Unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing Gauteng households to the brink of extreme poverty. Photo: AFP/Michele Spatari

Revealed: 83% of lives lost to xenophobic protests were South African

Whatever point these protesters were trying to make, they have blood on their hands. The xenophobic protests have only served to facilitate murder.

Unemployment rate south africa reaction

Unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing Gauteng households to the brink of extreme poverty. Photo: AFP/Michele Spatari

Those behind the recent wave of xenophobic attacks in Gauteng have got blood on their hands. Just one life lost – regardless of their home country or background – is a tragedy. So for a dozen people to have been killed in two violent protests is, quite frankly, a national emergency.

How many people have been killed in the xenophobic violence across South Africa?

Those who were hoping to make some sort of statement or era-defining message about their attitude towards foreigners have let South Africa down badly. Of the 12 people who killed during the civil unrest, 10 of them were actually from Mzansi – nothing sums up the madness of the past week or two quite like this.

The figure sounds even worse when we convert it to a percentage of 83%. The bloodshed has proved to be a stain on the nation, as other African countries exercise their own retribution. Embassies have been closed in Nigeria, South African shops have been looted in Congo and MTN, and demonstrations in several neighbouring countries have shown the continental disdain for South Africa emerging this month.

SA government putting out fires

Diplomats have done their best to calm the situation: Nigerian President Buhari is flying out to SA in the next few weeks to patch things up with President Cyril Ramaphosa. Meanwhile, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor is hoping that placing the blame on apartheid’s legacy will appease foreign powers.

Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula addressed the media, alongside fellow cabinet dwellers Ayanda Dlodlo (State Security), Bheki Cele (Police), Aaron Motsoaledi (Home Affairs) and Ronald Lamola (Justice). They relayed some pretty grim figures about the recent wave of violence, including the death toll:

“A total of 12 people have died [in xenophobic violence]. Ten are South African, two are “foreign nationals.’ Over 10 000 undocumented foreigners were deported in the first six months of 2019. Hundreds of foreign nationals have taken refuge at police stations – 755 are housed at community centre’s in Katlehong alone.”

“Many potential violent incidents have been ‘nipped in the bud’, using early warning systems. But misinformation and fake news remains a key area of concern. We believe South Africa is not a xenophobic country. Whoever is found on the wrong side of the law will be dealt with.”

Opposition parties submit suggestions to stop xenophobic violence

The Democratic Alliance, meanwhile, have pleaded with the national government to follow their plans to snuff-out xenophobic protests across the country – their recommendations include:

  • Deploying an emergency budget to deal with the outbreak of xenophobic violence in Gauteng.
  • Immediately increasing the number of SAPS Public Order Police.
  • Increasing the number of police reservists.
  • Cooperating with the Provincial SAPS and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) through the sharing of crime intelligence.

Mmusi Maimane delivered these remarks outside of the Johannesburg Central Police Station. He went on to claim that demonstrators blaming foreigners for poverty, joblessness and a lack of opportunities were “fooling themselves”. Maimane warned against scapegoating and demanded “far more efficient policing” in Gauteng.