Controversial DA mayor for the city of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba has warned South Africans to stop using his words against “illegal foreigners” to target all foreigners.
The mayor Mashaba who has been under fire for his words that allegedly gave rise to fresh xenophobic attacks in the country, said not all foreigners are criminals and the public must stop using him as a scapegoat to target them.
Speaking in what seems to be a reaction to public claims against him, the mayor said he doesn’t understand why he’s being blamed for the violence aimed at foreign nationals when he has only called for the law to take its course.
“When young girls are turned into prostitutes and our houses are hijacked then our people don’t have rights. I find it completely unfortunate and unacceptable,” he said reiterating the need to get rid of criminals from the city for the people’s benefit and for the growth development of the city.
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While acknowledging the challenges facing the city as posed by high crime rate, Home Affairs department says this cannot be a reason for the generalizations made by Mashaba.
The department further noted that there shouldn’t be blanket generalization simply based on the means people used to arrive in South Africa.
“While we note those challenges, we can never say it’s justified for a person to make sweeping generalizations about criminality or even about the integrity of a certain people based on how or the type of movement they used coming into the country.”
Anti-xenophobia groups have also blamed him for the recent attacks on foreign-owned properties by residents of Rosettenville. Several spaza shops and houses have been looted and torched in Rosettenville and Pretoria West by locals who claim they’re used as brothels and drug dens.
Nigerian government has even called on the African Union, (AU) to intervene urgently in the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.
The country’s Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, asked the SA government to take decisive action against the attack which she described as unnecessary and a setback.
The Nigerian Community in South Africa led by M. Ikechukwu Anyene confirmed the attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West on Saturday.
The union condemned what it says are stereotypical views which claim its nationals are responsible for the crimes in the city.
Meanwhile, a group which calls itself as ‘Mamelodi Concerned Residents’ has maintained plans for a march against foreigners in Pretoria on Friday despite the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) rejecting their application.
The group said it would march to the Home Affairs Department to protest against government allowing immigrants into the country.
A leader of the Mamelodi Concerned Residents told Eyewitness News that they believe their democratic right to demonstrate is being violated and that the march will go ahead.