Press Statement on the Sentiments from the Premier of Gauteng on stopping foreigners from Operating Certain businesses.
We must admit that we were shocked to learn of the proposals from the Premier of Gauteng, a man who has always stood mainly for the truth in crediting the role of the migrant community in growing the economy of Gauteng. His first SOPA of 2019 before elections crunched huge numbers in business and investments and the role of the African Diaspora (migrants), and this we believe is true.
However we have raised our concerns already and our desire to engage further with the Premier on his latest statements on reserving certain businesses for South Africans considering we were much worried earlier in the month about the issue that suggested migrants running small businesses in Johannesburg had hijacked buildings, and we are convinced that could not be furthest from the truth.
South Africa in a family of African countries cannot stand in isolation and at a time like this when hate sentiments on migrants and threats to lives of migrants are so high, adverts for the shut down of South Africa from the 2nd of September 2019 to oust migrants all over, such a position can only create further anxiety and disquiet in the country and the continent at large. We want to implore the leadership of the country to provide true leadership to bring about peace, stability and the spirit of Ubuntu and Pan Africanism within the country.
It would be sad to see other African countries beginning to fight back with similar policies of ring-fencing business activities. Firstly, it would imply that South Africans cannot compete on an equal footing with migrants and therefore needs protection which truly must not be seen as a favour to native South Africans. Secondly, this would imply that the various migrants who are either voluntarily in the country or through forced migration are being expelled from South Africa as the right to provide for their families is being smothered. The Good book of the Lord says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
The formal employment has been mainly reserved for South Africans and migrants’ resort to informal trading and the so called township economy kind of businesses. Shutting them down means they have no more means of survival. We must not forget that South Africa opens up to the skilled, the professionals from other poor African countries. If indeed doctors from all poor African countries where South African has not invested in their education are welcomed but the ordinary people in those countries are unwelcome, that is exploitative and unfair. We cannot be good people if what we know and want is to harvest the best and leave the undesirable, we upset the ecosystem of God and the people, because God gave all countries the best and ordinary, if we remove all the best them what?
How do we expect these countries to grow and be sustainable if we strip them off their technocrats and leave them with no mental tools to develop? Maths and Science teachers, Doctors, Engineers and so forth South Africa is happy to take and leave the ordinary people, how does this fit into the scheme of things of development? Is this human and fair? We have seen many parts of South Africa burning with migrants kicked out of houses, their businesses, trucks, and truly organisations doing these things are not and do not do it in hiding but they distance themselves from actions of their members and it ends there, that is not acceptable.
Organisations cannot have their members causing such havoc and yet they are not being held to account and we expect peace and order to prevail, where is the concept similar to vicarious liability? If Pirates fans causes a stampede Pirates is fined! If South Africa, as a country wants splendid isolation and to exist to the exclusion of all, surely it must refuse anyone from anywhere without regard to skills or finances not to be picky about it. It was initially illegal migrants, now the ask is growing every day. It appears black migrants must leave South Africa now especially if they are being denied the right to live and human dignity and survival.
We call upon the government of South Africa to bring order, social cohesion and integration in the country and provide leadership because right now things are very bad. It is a shame because the target seems to be African migrants, because the attacks are in black communities, and small black businesses. What is this? A new level of Afrophobia indeed!