Fact check: Common misconceptions about xenophobia in South Africa

Fact check: Common misconceptions about xenophobia in South Africa

- Xenophobia has raised its head once again in South Africa as foreign nationals came under attack

- This drew the ire of various African nations, which condemned the attacks on their citizens

- Briefly.co.za takes a look at the reasons behind the issue, exploring what the root causes of the problems really are

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Xenophobia in South Africa recently saw 12 fatalities and hundreds of arrests made as foreign nationals were subjected to attacks in Gauteng.

Nigeria has evacuated numerous citizens, with African nations choosing to boycott the recent World Economic Forum on Africa's summit.

The general feeling has been that foreigners were responsible for problems facing South Africa, something that remains unsupported by statistics.

High numbers of foreign nationals placing pressure on public systems

One of the most common complaints during the debacle had been that the healthcare system, employment opportunities and other state institutions were buckling under the pressure from an influx of foreigners into the country.

Statistics SA has noted that only 2.1 million out of 55.7 million citizens were foreign nationals, a figure that may well have been reduced by the large sums deported since 2011.

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READ ALSO: Ramaphosa says Zimbabweans booed SA: Nation apologises to Nigeria

South Africa's weak economic growth

The economy took a hard knock with a retraction in the first quarter of this year, despite boasting the second-largest economy in Africa.

Corruption, a loss of investor confidence and a shortage of skills has led to experts expecting a poor third quarter.

Millions of unemployed citizens

Immigrants have been accused of stealing jobs and pushing unemployment levels up. However, poor education levels and a difficult labour market have been noted as the reasons behind this.

With an estimated 6.7 million people jobless, the situation would not be resolved even if foreigners left the country.

Foreigners accused of driving crime rates up

A common narrative is that foreign nationals are responsible for bringing criminal activities to South Africa.

With thousands of people murdered every year, the country cannot deny an issue keeping citizens safe. However, experts say that to assume foreigners are responsible is impossible, due to the fact that the police don't release statistics on who perpetrates crime.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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