ANC’s uncaring mismanagement created dry tinder for xenophobic flare-ups

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP, during the debate on Xenophobia.
The English philosopher John Locke, who laid much of the foundation of modern liberal thought wrote that the primary duty of any government was to ensure the security of the nation and the protection of the rights of its citizens. This is how it would care for the people.
In return for the fulfilment of this duty of the government, the people would reciprocate in this social contract by being law-abiding, which would promote a society of harmonious co-existence.
On many fronts of governance and state delivery, the ANC government has failed in fulfilling its duty, showing that it does not care about the people. Whether in the case of the deprivation of the right to life for the victims of the Esidimeni scandal and the Marikana massacre or putting the comfort of the political elite before caring for the needs of the people through indulgent state spending on cushy cars, luxury hotel accommodation and excessive VIP Protection, the ANC has broken the social contract that underpins the relationship between citizens and the government.
This brokenness is starkly evident, and has been for many years, in the area of border security and policing. It is part of a chronic and endemic pattern of ANC misgovernance: from a broken President and Parliament to a broken SABC and society – the ANC breaks almost everything it touches.
As a result of its misgovernance and mismanagement, the ANC has been creating and piling up the dry tinder that we have seen become kindled into bonfires of unrest and xenophobic violence over the years.
The seeds of these xenophobic flare-ups were sown in the inability of the ANC to create jobs for almost 9 million South Africans and also in the mismanagement and ultimate weakening of border security, creating porous and poorly controlled borders that make illegal in-migration virtually impossible to police and curtail.
The cause and manifestation of this border security mismanagement are well-known: under-resourcing, under-staffing, under-equipping, under-training, incompetent leadership and a failure to enforce accountability.
While the stream of illegal immigration over the years has, on one hand, created the context for violent xenophobic outbreaks, the chronic neglect of the police service has, on the other hand, undermined and hollowed out the state’s capacity to forecast and respond adequately to public unrest when it does break out.
In 2008, 2015 and now 2017, the Criminal Intelligence division of the SAPS seemingly never saw the xenophobic violence coming, even though there always seems to be an organised element to these episodes.
When the violence does erupt, the SAPS response is slow and ineffectual and policing capacity is initially too thin on the ground to contain the violence, enabling it to escalate and spread. The reasons for this shoddy state of readiness are the same familiar ones: under-resourcing, under-staffing, under-equipping, under-training and poor leadership.
The DA will fix our broken border security and police service when we come to lead national government because we care.
We will ensure adequate resourcing, staffing, training and equipping. We will boost the frequency and coverage of border patrolling.
We will fix our broken Crime Intelligence so that it can foresee disturbances before they erupt and we will restore Public Order Policing to adequate strength so that it contain unrest before it escalates and spreads.
We will build a caring government that reconnects with the people through a social contract that all citizens can trust and put their confidence in.
After 23 years of failing delivery and corrupt governance, the ANC has broken the trust that it once enjoyed with the people. The people will soon place that trust in another government that deserves it and truly cares for them.

ANC has failed to uphold human rights

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Stevens Mokgalapa MP, during the debate on Xenophobia.
Thank you Madam Speaker,
The Democratic Alliance condemns any act of xenophobia, along with any form of discrimination.
We support South Africa’s role as a continental leader and stakeholder, and believe that legal immigration can contribute to economic growth, skills development and job creation.
We also believe that the problem of foreign nationals residing in South Africa illegally should be addressed, but in a manner that respects the fundamental human rights and dignity of those immigrants.
The African Union’s Agenda 2063 envisions a prosperous Africa with inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. It envisions an integrated continent, a continent that is politically united. It envisions an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.
Madam Speaker, our Constitution shares these values and principles. It is stated in the preamble to the Constitution that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. This is an important feature of our Constitution, rightly enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
However, the significant question we have to ask ourselves is this: does the actions of today’s government show that they believe that South Africa truly belongs to all who live in it?
The recent increase of violence against foreign nationals implores us to reflect on this question, and I am afraid that the answer to this question is a resounding NO.
Recent events have clearly shown that South Africa’s foreign relations policy falls short of achieving Afro-optimism and Pan-Africanism.
Our government remains reactive, rather than proactive, in addressing the underlying causes of the growing hostility towards foreigners.
One of the key issues in the hostility towards foreigners is that the ANC government is failing horribly in their mandate to provide jobs for 8.9 million unemployed South Africans and particularly for the lost generation, the millions of young people who have been abandoned by the ANC government.
Madam Speaker, inefficient practices at the Department of Home Affairs is compounding the problem of illegal immigration, as many foreigners wishing to enter the country legally are faced with almost insurmountable bureaucracy.
In many ways, Home Affairs creates illegal immigrants through their own inefficiency. It is also a fact that our borders are too porous, and the government believes that the establishment of a Border Management Authority will solve this problem.
This is yet another example of the ANC trying to legislate their way out of a problem, rather than fixing the existing mechanisms. Not only is the current proposal unconstitutional, it is highly impractical and will only lead to a waste of state funds.
Xenophobia is irrational and immoral and should be rejected by each and every South African. Mutual co-existence and individual legal freedom of movement should be protected as enshrined in our Constitution.
It is worrying that we have a President that only last week said, and I quote, that “we appeal to our people not to allow the actions of a few criminals to turn them against their brothers and sisters who are here legally.”
The President should know that his words carry weight, and that his statement could easily be interpreted as a tactic go –ahead for violent attacks against foreigners who are here illegally. This simply cannot stand.
Madam Speaker, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a massive gap between what the ANC states their foreign policy should be, and what it actually is. For example, by ignoring a high court order to arrest Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, and by unconstitutionally withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC), the ANC government has not supported a human rights based foreign policy.
It is now becoming clear that the ANC also does not respect the promotion of human rights nationally.
As the DA, we implore all South Africans to do what the government has failed to do, and that is show a sense of solidarity to and respect for the dignity of our fellow African brothers and sisters. Xenophobic violence is never acceptable.

DA calls for review of Xenophobia committee recommendations made in 2008 and 2015

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA Shadow Minister in the Presidency, Sejamothopo Motau MP, during the debate on Xenophobia.
Honourable Members,
There is no doubt in my mind that all the good people of South Africa cherish the promotion of harmonious co-existence and respect for the rights of all persons, including foreign nationals.
This is the case because we want to establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights for all who live in the country.
A country that is peaceful and crime-free.
Sadly, we seem to be failing in our noble national mission. As matters stand, this country seems more divided and violent than at any time since 1994.
Xenophobia, homophobia, racism and religious intolerance, bedevil the social fabric of our nation.
This, despite the fact that that the Presidency is mandated to lead the agenda and discourse on nation building, social cohesion and national identity facilitated through the Moral Regeneration Movement and its charter of positive values.
What positive results can we show for the millions of Rand appropriated for this purpose every year?
The simple answer is: Very little, if anything. Political correctness and expediency seem to be the major culprits responsible for this dismal performance.
Following the recent xenophobic violence in the Tshwane area, DA Leader Mmusi Maimane made the following plea: “The DA strongly condemns xenophobia and xenophobic violence and we urge all South Africans to do the same. The hatred and intolerance towards foreign African nationals that has flared up in areas of Gauteng is morally contemptible and self- defeating.”
To defeat this scourge, we need to get to the root causes of the problem and eradicate them. Political correctness will not get us anywhere, as experience has shown.
While irrationality can be blamed for some xenophobic behaviour, we cannot lose sight of the fact that there are some objective factors that generate resentment among both South Africans and immigrants that serve as triggers for violence.
For instance, there are growing grumblings amongst South Africans in the townships that foreign nationals put severe strain on amenities and services such as public schools, clinics, hospitals and housing. Scrambling for jobs also always comes up as a big factor.
With 9 million jobless and 17 million people on social grants this is hardly surprising.
The very weak economic growth in the country is not helping. The economy needs to grow by at least 5 percent or more a year, as envisaged by the National Development Plan, to create millions of jobs.
Most people who have a job, hardly ever worry about who is in the country.
Let me defer to the DA Leader again: “The DA’s position is that anyone who meets the legal criteria; is prepared to play by the rules of our Constitution, and who seeks a better life for themselves, should be welcome in South Africa.”
These factors – real or imagined – must be confronted head-on and addressed as they will not go away of themselves. We dare not shy away from them.
Following the xenophobic violence in 2008 and 2015, Parliament appointed Ad Hoc Joint Committees to probe the causes of the violence against foreign nationals.
These committees, constituted at some significant cost, completed their assignments and made recommendations to Parliament regarding the actions to be taken to address the scourge.
These recommendations included that:

  • The Department of Home Affairs prioritise issuing foreign nationals with correct documentation, maintain adequate records and root out corruption;
  • That the Portfolio Committees on Safety and Security establish the ability of crime combating units to stem future attacks and for police response to violent situations in general; and
  • That the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development monitor Special Courts progress in processing cases of violence against foreign nationals.

Very little seems to have been done regarding the implementation of these recommendations. As a member of this House who served on the 2015 Ad Hoc Joint Committee, I have no idea as to what has come of the recommendations.
The DA calls on this Parliament to institute an urgent review of the recommendations made in 2008 and 2015; establish which have been implemented and facilitate the implementation of those outstanding – as a matter of urgency.
The DA believes that recent incidents of xenophobic violence and anti-foreigner sentiments are a consequence of the failure of the ANC Government to implement the recommendations set out in the 2008 and 2015 reports – adopted by Parliament – of the Ad Hoc Joint Committees on Probing Violence against Foreign Nationals.
There is no more time to lose. Failure to implement frustrates any effort to promote social cohesion and harmonious co-existence among the people who live in the country.