Audit foreigners to curb xenophobia

When a certain political party recently invaded some shops in Gauteng, demanding to know the percentage ratio of foreign nationals to South Africans employed in these businesses, I thought my ideas as presented in the article I wrote to this publication last year were somewhat taking off to a practical start.

I had written in that article that we need to do a checklist of this ratio across all spheres of our lives: be it residential, sport, education, religion, business, all forms of industries (be it mining, retail, agriculture, etc). This, I wrote, would have assisted us to be able to determine which areas we need assistance and staffing from foreign nationals.

This cohort of African nationals was deliberately given attention because xenophobic fights were in the past seen among Africans. The checklist did not exclude other foreign nationals, be it of Chinese, European or even Asian origin. This would go a long way in curbing so-called xenophobic attacks if there is proper audits, documentation and information.

All this emanates due to concern from locals that there is an increase in and sometimes unfair preference given to foreign African nationals for employment positions in all sectors mentioned above. Sport is not spared too. An increase in the number foreign African goalkeepers in the PSL who now seem to outnumber locals is a concern that must be properly audited.

The campaign by the political party somewhat did not take off. No other businesses were raided for the percentage ratio mentioned above. They retorted to their previous assertions that all these foreign nationals were fellow Africans and must be treated like locals.

Such assertions were somewhat negated by some members of the community. Operation Dudula took off, this time more aggressive and focusing on Illegal foreigners running businesses in townships. The country remains divided as to the actions of such operations, with some viewing them as xenophobic.

I still maintain that a checklist and proper documentation will assist us in addressing this problem. I would urge the political party to resume the campaign and involve other political parties.

Xilumani Nghotsa, email

This article was previously published on SowetanLIVE

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