COALITION OF CIVICS AGAINST XENOPHOBIA

The Workers and Socialist Party has helped to initiate the formation of a coalition of community groups to combat the growing threat of xenophobic violence. Below is the public statement of the Coalition of Civics Against Xenophobia.

 

No to xenophobia and scapegoating

Build unity to end crime and poverty

Communities across South Africa are frustrated with the serious social problems we face, especially drugs and crime. People become desperate when the police fail to act. But the indiscriminate violence against foreign residents in Rossetenville last week and in Pretoria West this last weekend was wrong. It was not only wrong, but it has made it even harder to find real solutions to our problems.

The vast majority of foreign residents are COMPLETELY opposed to drugs and crime. Just like South African-born residents, foreign residents want criminals to be removed from our communities too. Xenophobia is not the answer to crime and poverty – unity is the answer! We should be working TOGETHER to identify and root-out crime. The real criminals in our communities will slip through the net if we are fighting each other instead of uniting.

We are a coalition of communities representing South African-born and foreign-born residents. We stand united against crime, poverty and xenophobia. We call on the police and the authorities to act against known criminals in our communities; we also call on them to FULLY GUARANTEE the safety and protection of foreign residents. To support that, in co-operation with the relevant authorities, we call on communities to build UNITED and DEMOCRATIC community watch groups to identify both criminals and those planning xenophobic attacks.

The Mamelodi Concerned Residents have called a march for 24 February. We call on all South Africans to stay away and we call on the organisers to URGENTLY reconsider their plans to march. Marching against “illegal immigrants” won’t do a thing to solve the problems in our communities. It will only create MORE problems. Regardless of what the organisers might intend, almost certainly, a tiny minority of South Africans will use the march as an excuse to attack innocent foreign residents and loot legitimate businesses. Just like the violence over the past two weeks, this will further divide our communities.

We need a march that unites our communities in order to find real solutions to our problems. Therefore we are organising a march to take place on TUESDAY 28 FEBRUARY. We will march united – South African-born and foreign-born – to Union Buildings against crime, poverty, unemployment AND xenophobia. We will submit a memorandum calling on government to act urgently on the issues facing our communities. We call on ALL residents to march with us in unity.

21 February 2017

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