Anti-migrant attacks in South Africa likened to apartheid actions

The President has advised citizens not to try and make the law their own as rising anti-immigrant sentiment is evident

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has compared recent anti-foreigner groups’ actions to tactics that were once used by the apartheid regime to target blacks, after a Zimbabwean man was brutally killed last week.

Ramaphosa, in a newsletter he sent out on Monday warned people against breaking the law. South Africa has seen a rise in anti-immigrant protests due to an influx undocumented immigrants who are being linked with violent crime. 

Angry residents have accused the police of not doing enough to stem the violence and vigilante groups were going door-to-door demanding to see people’s identification documents and check who were not South Africans. In the country, there have been more attacks on foreigners. 

According to reports, an angry mob set upon Elvis Nyathi (33) from Zimbabwe and burnt him alive in Diepsloot north of Johannesburg. The protests started on April 5th, after seven people were reported to have been murdered in the preceding weekend.

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Private citizens have stopped people on the streets and forced them to show identification in order to check their immigration status.” President Ramaphosa wrote, saying it was deeply disturbing to see this sort of behavior aimed at foreign nationals.

This is how apartheid oppressors worked.” he claimed. “Apartheid was a system where black people were automatically made suspects, and police stopped them when they found themselves in “white” areas..”

Ramaphosa insisted that “We cannot let such inhumanities happen again.” while admitting that the murder of seven South Africans in Diepsloot was a tragedy. But he said that vigilante actions in retaliation were just as tragic, and that foreigners were being attacked was immoral, racist, and criminal. He warned that “Today our anger might be directed against nationals from Zimbabwe or Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Our anger could be directed towards each other tomorrow.

The president did address the crime rate and acknowledged that it is a serious problem in South Africa that affects all communities, but argued that it wasn’t being committed only by immigrants.

Contrary to the claims of some anti-immigration groups and individuals, crime perpetrators are not only black or white but also male and female. They can be foreigner, citizen, and even alien. We must all work together against crime, and not immigrants.” Ramaphosa wrote.

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Incitement, violence and intimidation aimed at foreign nationals and particularly nationals of other African countries are not enough to defeat criminality..”

Ramaphosa recognized that many people are frustrated by the failure of the police to tackle crime. Therefore, Ramaphosa pledged to implement measures to strengthen the police force and hire 12,000 extra officers.

South Africa has one of the world’s highest joblessness rates with around 35% of the workforce unemployed. Increased anti-foreigner sentiment may also result from increased joblessness in South Africa, particularly in lower-skilled areas.



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