Minister of Higher Education and Secretary-General of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Dr. Blade Nzimande, took a different approach in addressing the issue of xenophobia in the country.
Xenophobia in South Africa: What’s the latest?
While diplomatic tensions between South Africa and other African countries remain idling, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been hard at work in trying to mend things between us and our continental leadership.
The president ditched his presidential duties at the United Nations General Assembly to take care of matters at home, and currently, South Africa is the least favourite country for Africans.
The recent spate of xenophobic violence that broke out a month ago saw hundreds of rioters placed under arrest. Moreover, hundreds of foreign nationals have been repatriated from South Africa, and at least 12 people have died as a direct result of the xenophobic violence — ten of whom are South Africans.
Ramaphosa, in response to this, has deployed an envoy of government officials to different parts of the continent to formally apologise and update leaders on what South Africa is doing to address xenophobia.
Blade Nzimande weighs in on xenophobic violence
In Nzimande’s perspective, the xenophobic violence could have been avoided if South Africa was not seen by other countries as the scapegoat.
While he stated categorically that he denounced xenophobia, he added that we cannot ignore a glaring fact, which is that “African leaders themselves must get their act together.”
Nzimande suggested that if African leaders did not destroy their countries, foreign nationals would not be seeking asylum in South Africa.
“As South Africa, we [are] not able to absorb the results of all the problems that are made by leaders who want to loot their country and do not care about their people,” Nzimande exclaimed.
He added that there is another perspective to the denunciation of xenophobia and that South Africa being vilified cannot be the only way to understand what has been happening.
You can’t just blame South Africa. We are doing [our] best, but it is time for those leaders in our continent to say, ‘what are you doing to make your country better places to live in?’” Nzimande added
Nzimande continued, stating that in reality, South Africa is being forced to sustain an issue it is not able to absorb and that while xenophobic attacks are no solution to the problem, they are an inevitability if the country is on a continual state of taking in more foreign nationals.
“We are saying, let’s not attack foreign nationals but we are saying part of the problem is instability that leads to South Africa having to absorb what it is not able to absorb,” he said.
culled from the south african