March against foreigners in SA condemned by centre for human rights in Pretoria, Newsline

South Africans are alleging Nigerian and Zimbabwean nationals for SA’s high crime rate

JOHANNESBURG, September 24 (ANA) – The centre for human rights at University of Pretoria, has on Thursday condemned the march against foreign nationals in the City of Tshwane, Pretoria.

On Wednesday the marchers targeted Nigerians and Zimbabweans. The march organisers expressed their concerns about illegal migrants and drug trafficking.

Director Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria Prof Frans Viljoen said this kind of march underlines the need for the government to deliberately cultivate social cohesion between South Africans and foreign nationals.

Viljoen said as the centre understood that there were concerns regarding the state of security in the country, however, crime has no nationality.

“It is evidently wrong to target people from particular countries or label them as criminals, drug dealers or persons responsible for the social ills in the country,” he said.

“Such rhetoric only seeks to reinforce xenophobic and populist narratives, from which South Africa strongly distances itself, both constitutionally and in the 2019 National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances.

Law enforcement agencies need to hold accountable anyone who instigates violence based on anti-migrant rhetoric and xenophobia, following due process of law as South African law requires.”

Viljoen said that law enforcement agencies need to hold anyone accountable who instigates violence based on anti-migrant rhetoric and xenophobia.

“It is undeniable that many South Africans face unemployment. A recent Human Rights Watch report on xenophobic violence against non-nationals in South Africa observes that they are blamed for unemployment, crime and neglect by the government,” said Viljoen.

“The grievances of the high level of unemployment, unacceptable levels of income inequality and economic hardship of a majority of South Africans living in adverse poverty are genuine and need to be attended to by the state and policy makers. But channelling the anger to our brothers and sisters from other parts of the continent is misplaced.”

The South African community needs to own its failures and stop attributing its socio-economic challenges to “others” in society, he said.

Viljoen said that it was important that the government attends to the genuine grievances of many South Africans concerning economic conditions, unemployment and unacceptable levels of income inequality.

African News Agency (ANA)