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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
Organise against xenophobia
Organise our communities to fight crime and drugs
Contact WASP on 082 471 2034 to work with us on this issue. Download this article as a printable flyer here.
Mamelodi Concerned Residents is handing out flyers around Tshwane. They want people to march against “illegal immigrants”. They are blaming “foreigners” for all the problems in our communities – problems such as unemployment, drugs, prostitution and crime. These are very serious problems. They make life in working class and poor communities harder than it already is. But these problems are not caused by poor working class foreign residents!
The problems of crime, drugs and prostitution are caused by mass unemployment. This means poverty and desperation for millions. The government does nothing about this because they run South Africa in the interests of the rich and the bosses and not in the interests of the working class and poor.
South Africa’s richest man is the chairman of Shoprite. He has R100 billion but pays his workers poverty wages and won’t even give them permanent contracts. The bosses refuse to create jobs by investing their huge profits. Instead they avoid paying tax and illegally take their money out of the country. It is greedy bosses like this who keep workers and their families in poverty.
The government has made savage cuts to social spending. This means poor quality housing, health care and education – more poverty! The ANC Gauteng government has killed nearly 100 mental health patients by trying to cut costs. They moved patients out of hospital and gave them to unlicensed and incompetent NGOs. Patients died from things as simple as lack of water!
Marching against “illegal immigrants” won’t do a thing to solve these problems. If we are divided and fighting each other it lets the greedy politicians and bosses off the hook. They will keep laughing all the way to the bank. Wrongly, foreign residents have been attacked before, and even murdered. But did it ever solve a single one of our problems? No! It did not.
Working class people know that it is only organisation and struggle that can solve our problems. In the #OutsourcingMustFall campaign, thousands of low-paid workers have struggled for permanent jobs and higher wages. This campaign has involved South African-born and foreign-born workers. By being united workers defeated labour broking in many workplaces and improved wages from R2,000 up to R10,000. But workers would not have won any of this if they had been fighting each other instead of building a united and powerful movement.
Xenophobia is leading communities into a dead-end. It delays us from building the real alternative to poverty and unemployment – the united working class struggle for socialism. We need to build a powerful new socialist civic federation that organises all residents in our communities and leads a mass action campaign on the issues of job creation, service delivery, and stamping out crime.We call on the Mamelodi Concerned Residents to reconsider their plan to march. We need a march that unites the working class and poor against the rich and their politicians. It is time the communities of Tshwane, and across the entire country, organised a day of action, marching in every township and poor community to demand: jobs, houses and service for all! We invite all community activists and structures to work with us towards that goal.
We must organise our communities on this socialist programme…
Organise our communities
- Build democratic, accountable mass community organisations in every community. These organisations must involve ALL residents whether South African or foreign.
- No to corruption. For complete transparency in all aspects of the work of community organisations. Leaders to be accountable and recallable.
- Link-up all community organisations in a country-wide socialist civic. Support the building of a socialist mass workers party.
Create jobs, share out the work fairly
- Country-wide socialist civic to campaign and fight for a fully-enforced national minimum wage, mass job creation programmes so that everyone who wants a job can have one and labour exchanges that can match job vacancies with workers. Campaign and fight for an unemployment social grant.
- Stop greedy bosses using foreign workers to undercut wages! Community organisations and local businesses must agree community-wide minimum wages enforced by community organisations.
- Community organisations must draw up registers of the unemployed, South African and foreign, and their skills. Local businesses, including foreign businesses, must employ a quota of workers from these registers, the number depending on the circumstances of the business. These registers to be regularly inspected by representatives of the community to protect against corruption.
- Community organisations to organise rotas for casual workers, South African and foreign, to ensure all have a fair chance to earn a regular wage.
- Organise to stop xenophobic violence. Organise community-watch programmes under the democratic control of community organisations with the mass participation of the community to protect foreign residents and businesses against xenophobic violence.
- No to crime and drugs. Campaign and fight for high quality, free, drug rehabilitation programmes for addicts. Organise community-watch programmes under the democratic control of community organisations with the mass participation of the community. Report all drug dealers and other criminals, South African and foreign, to the police and campaign for their removal from the community.