The Right2Know Campaign strongly condemns the xenophobic attacks that took place in Grahamstown leaving 392 people without livelihoods and homeless. We demand that the national and provincial government and Makana Municipality take steps right now to protect foreigners against xenophobic attacks, integrate them safely back into the community, and start a real dialogue in the community to address the root causes of these attacks.
Over the past few weeks foreign nationals have been attacked and harassed by some local residents without any condemnation or decisive action from government authorities. Instead, the Makana Municipality is playing a blame game by pointing a finger to a ‘third force’.
Blaming a ‘third force’ is becoming the norm to the government leaders when faced with such crises. This situation is far more urgent than politicians are admitting especially with new attack threats reportedly planned for December 21.
President Jacob Zuma and Premier Phumulo Masualle’s silence and inaction is a sign of uncaring leadership. We understand that the affected families have repeatedly called upon these leaders to come listen to their plight but their invitation had been met with complete disregard. Not only have these two leaders let down the families in distress, but they have also let down the country. This shows lack of leadership on their part.
The whole world is faced with various challenges and some are prompted by political turmoil, South Africans should not think that they are immune to such challenges by mistreating asylum seekers as they might end up seeking refuge in other countries in the near future. We call on the community organisations and activists to be more vocal and visible in affected communities by supporting anti-xenophobia community initiatives. They must report any threats or talks about possible attacks and all related criminal elements like looting to the police, the media, political authorities and other relevant state agencies like the Human Rights Commission.
R2K applauds UPM, Masifunde and other activists for providing solidarity with the affected families. They have been working tirelessly to end this crisis without any help or recognition from the Makana Municipality.
We also call on religious leaders, social movements, business leaders, student movements and NGOs in the Makana Municipality to unite and provide the much needed assistance to the displaced families. You can assist by facilitating open dialogues in affected communities or by donating food, clothes and cash to Masifunde Education And Development Project Trust.
Say no to Xenophobia!
Let us unite and fight against xenophobia, unity is strength!
Not on our watch!