Solidarity: South African activists call for solidarity against attacks on migrants

21 05 2008
by Ken Olende

A series of brutal attacks on migrant workers in South Africa in the last two weeks has left dozens dead and forced thousands to flee. At least 22 people had been killed as Socialist Worker went to press. The mobs carrying out the assaults accuse migrants of taking jobs from local people and causing crime. Activists in Johannesburg have called a solidarity march to build unity between South African workers and migrants.

The Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) issued a statement against the attacks. “Some 40 percent of all South African citizens are unemployed and this has been the case for many years,” it read.

“This is not the result of immigrants from other countries coming to South Africa but rather, the result of the anti-poor, profit-seeking policies of the government and the behaviour of the capitalist class.”

It also pointed out that “the South African government’s approach to the crisis in Zimbabwe has further contributed to the mass migration of Zimbabweans to South Africa”.

The majority of the migrants have arrived from neighbouring Zimbabwe since the collapse of its economy.

The APF is urgently building this Saturday’s solidarity march against the attacks. Claire Ceruti, editor of the Socialism from Below publication, spoke to Socialist Worker: “Migrant workers are sheltering in police stations, which is ironic since police arrested 1,500 of them in a raid at the end of January.

“The whole police operation suggested that migrants were to blame. It acted as a prologue to the current problems.”

People have been taken by surprise at the level of violence, she adds. “I live in Yeoville, which is normally a vibrant suburb, but is now silent. No kids are out playing, no one is walking on the street. People are just too scared to show their faces.

“But one small example shows the potential for solidarity. In inner city Johannesburg several residential buildings have been organising against evictions by the city government.

“The majority of people in one of the buildings are from Zimbabwe and came under attack over the weekend. But the advice centre that coordinates the anti-eviction campaign mobilised the other blocks, which are almost all South African. The attackers were driven off.

“This issue can still go both ways. The next days will be crucial in ensuring the success of the solidarity march and giving people who oppose the attacks the confidence to come out on to the streets.”

The following should be read alongside this article:
» Hope and despair in South Africa



One response to “Solidarity: South African activists call for solidarity against attacks on migrants”

21 05 2008
Karikoga Chaminuka (10:21:25) :

I personally belive someone in outh Africa, high up in ANC is behind this wave of attack. Just take a look at who gets political milage while Foreigners suffer. The ANC leadership has failed to give leadership when it most needed. Perhaps foreigners should take the law into their own hands. The should drive the ZULUs out of Johanesburge and remind them that its ZEZURU(Now called Shona) land that Shaka pushed them up north to modern day Zimbabwe. That is true. If boaders where correctly drawn, that would leave Pretoria and Johanesburg in Zimbabwe, with MUNHUMUTAPA empire streatching to the Indian Ocean.

Zimbabwean CONCERNED Says:

May 19, 2008 at 3:59 am
I am a Zimbabwean of African descent. I was living in Zimbabwe during the days of South Africa’s quest for self determination. I still remember days when certain places in Harare where no go areas, for fear of bombings from Apartheid South Africa’s terrorist Agents. Innocent Zimbabweans paid the Ultimate Price. Many of them with their lives.
Zimbabwe led the FRONT-LINE states, a coalition of African states determined to see an end to apartheid. After a protracted fight, at the expense of development in Zimbabwe, Africa prevailed. The end of apartheid was the hope, dreams and aspirations o all Africans, of all races, of religions, of all nationalities.
Today the independence of South Africa is unfortunately a partial success. Black South Africans own less than 15% of private wealth in South Africa. The figure is much less for combined black ownership of major South African Corporation. None of the top 15 companies are black owned. This is despite the black South Africans constituting 80% 0f the total population. In terms of inequality and poverty that is rampant, South Africa internal cohesion remains ticking time BOMB.
Black Zimbabweans had nuclear weapons hanging over their heads, during the apartheid days. Zimbabwe was the CLEAR and PRESENT danger to Apartheid. Now black Zimbabweans fleeing economic hardship in their country have become a convenient scapegoat for the problems faced by black South Africans. NONE of the xenophobic anger expressed by South Africans’ is aimed at their WHITE MASTERS. (I don’t mean this in any racist way) South Africans have collectively accepted that there are inferior to White people. Their residual feelings of grander, and perhaps relative superiority is falsely contrasted against other poor black immigrants ironically the very ones that paid the price for South Africa’s independence. You should never bite the hand that feeds you and hope to get away . Not forever.
I have personally lost a dear brother because of this hatred, lack of respect for black life (especially foreigners – Bro. Chigutire shot in the head at point blank range. No day goes by without me thinking of him.). I feel for my fellow Zimbabwean who have to endure this hatred, violence and abuse at the hands of other black people. Tribalism for Zimbabwean in South Africa has become just as bad as Apartheid used to be for us. The MEDIA have found something to fend and feast on. What do their care; they have fired up some of this hatred by their sensational and heartless reporting. The South African leadership couldn’t care less. They have never truly cared for Zimbabweans, and they will not start even with ZUMA. They stand and do nothing, and in a way, the violence against Zimbabweans, works as a tool in their hands, a scapegoat for their failure to truly liberate South Africans financially.
What shall we then say as Zimbabweans? APARTHEID WILL RISE NEVER AGAIN. NEVER!

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