The attacks that have been going on in South Africa have sparked controversy in the continent, causing most of the leaders from African countries to be concerned and react to the matter. Most of them have condemned the killings and the uncouth acts of violence against foreigners. Some of the leaders have come out to dismiss the news regarding xenophobia attacks claiming that the attacks are Afrophobic. How about looking into xenophobia meaning to ascertain whether the claims are true.
South Africa has for the past few days topped the headlines for not so good reasons. The country has been the centre of attention for the ongoing attacks against foreigners in the country. These attacks continue to cause damage both to the victims and the country at large. So many threats have come up regarding the country's economy, especially in the South African businesses that are situated outside the country. Going through the root cause will help determine whether the claims about xenophobia or Afrophobia are true. Thereafter, probable solutions could be sought.
Xenophobia in South Africa
What is xenophobia?
The current situation in the country is causing controversies, especially with the reactions from most of the political figures. Some have come up to term the killings as Afrophobic whereas some insist that they are xenophobic. This confusion that is being brought up by the two terms can be solved by defining each one of them.
The term refers to all forms of manifesting prejudice and dislike to people who are not from your country.
From this definition, it is safe to state that the forms of violence happening in South Africa currently are xenophobic attacks. The attacks have, however, been termed as Afrophobic. It will also be prudent to understand what the term means. Afrophobia refers to a state where one is afraid of the cultural practices of other African communities.
Xenophobia in South Africa today
Xenophobia in South Africa has not been a new thing. The attacks have been on and off. In 2016, lives were lost when the attacks sparked in the country. The same happened in 2017. In 2019, the attacks have taken a toll, and the effects have threatened to affect the country as a whole, hence the need to combat the problem before it gets out of hand.
Several political leaders have made remarks on the killings that are going on in the country. Some have sounded to support the situation claiming that the population of foreigners in South Africa has been on the rise and has interfered with service delivery in the country. Others have even argued that the high percentages of foreigners might cause the country's political positions to be taken by foreigners. Such remarks have brewed the attacks, making the situation harder.
What is the cause of xenophobia in South Africa?
The government is still trying to establish the cause of the attacks in the country even though the riots and acts of violence have been sparked by the issues concerning service delivery.
The probable causes of xenophobic attacks in South Africa
The only solution towards combating the issue of xenophobia South Africa is by establishing the root cause of the problem. Thereafter, solutions can be met.
1. The blame is put on African migrants
The country's statistics are saddening. More than half of the country's population lives in poverty. The rate of unemployment has been on the rise, and the few that have been employed complain of being paid peanuts as wages. These problems that most people in the country face are an effect of post-apartheid and corruption.
Corruption has contributed majorly in the mismanagement of government funds and resources. The funds that would have been used for development have been mismanaged, making service delivery a big problem. As a result, the jobless have resorted to engage in criminal activities in a bid to earn a living. The process has led to an increase in crime rates.
Even though politicians claim that the problems facing the country are as a result of the high numbers of immigrants, it is alleged that the political leaders have failed to play their part in resources allocation and are using immigrants as scapegoats for the current state of the nation.
2. The country's anti-immigration policies
There have been claims that the policies that the government has set regarding immigration could be favouring the high number of foreigners. This is one of the concerns that come up every time the topic of xenophobia South Africa is mentioned. Even though there have been calls to have the laws looked into, the ruling party has made remarks claiming that there is no need for amends on the policies and that "South Africans should be proud of the immigration laws."
In a statement addressing the concern on xenophobia in South Africa, the party stated:
These attacks on foreigners run contrary to the cherished principle of pan-Africanism and solidarity with our people: South Africa is signatory to a number of international conventions around migration and refugee protection. Many of the foreign nations in South Africa have fled war and oppression in their own countries.
All citizens should be proud that South Africa – with its strong human rights culture, Constitution and refugee protection laws – continues to offer safety and refuge to oppressed men, women and children. The ANC will work with communities and grassroots organisations to restore harmony and good relations.
3. Could South Africans be misplacing their anger?
There are claims that the attacks could have also been fueled by angry South Africans who are unhappy with the state of the country regarding service delivery. There are claims that foreigners are the cause of the problems because they have taken away the jobs that are supposed to have been meant for South Africans. In retaliation, South Africans have resorted to looting their businesses and burning them down to display how angry they are because of their being in the country.
Probable solutions to xenophobic attacks in South Africa
South Africa has been used in giving xenophobia examples, especially since the attacks are becoming the norm. This is not something that the country should be proud of. Therefore, there is a need to look into the matter and come up with proper solutions that could be used to combat the problem. These are some of the solutions that the South African government could try to implement:
1.Create awareness on the differences in social classes, nationality, and races
Even though being white in South Africa is not a big threat currently, the government should enhance ways of creating awareness on the intersection between the different races, nationalities, and social classes.
2. Address the issue of inequality
From statistics, xenophobia in South Africa 2019 has been fueled by the issue of service delivery. The South African government should, therefore, address this issue by trying to come up with a system that ensures that resources are equally distributed and that people in the grassroots levels have access to the resources.
3. Take action on xenophobic rhetoric
Leaders have played a big part in brewing these attacks. The government should, therefore, take action on anyone who makes these hateful utterances.
South Africa is on the limelight regarding the recent xenophobic attacks that have been on for the past week. Other African countries have shown concern regarding xenophobia in the country. This is an enough call for alarm for the possible measures to be taken to combat the situation.