South Africans Take Law Into Their Own Hands To Drive Out Foreigners
South Africa’s President says he’s deeply disturbed at the abuse of foreign nationals working in the country. It is a particular problem in the township of Alexandra, which was also at the centre of xenophobic riots in 2008. Our correspondent Lebo Diseko has also been talking to the immigrants there, who say they live in fear. When they
came here for the first time there were seven of them. They made us lie all down. They also took the machines, hairdryers and sprays. We had no choice but to let them take them because they had guns. Mozambican looks down at his hands as he describes the numerous attacks he’s been the target of, simply just for being a foreigner.
David says his attackers were South African, and that each time they make the same demand; that he should leave the country. They tell us we have to go, to close our business, but I don’t know where to go, he says. Recent clashes between South African residents of Alexandra and foreign business owners have also raised fears of
another outbreak of the anti-immigrant violence in the country. It is in this township in 2008 that xenophobic violence began and then spread nationwide nearly three times as many foreigners were then killed as a result of xenophobic violence in the 2021 than the previous year, according to the African Centre of Migration and Society.
Poverty is one of the main drivers of such conflict, with South Africans frequently accusing immigrants of taking their jobs. One in three people in workforce is currently unemployed, a figure that rises to almost two in three among people under 24.