Media Statement: C19 People’s Coalition condemns xenophobic calls for mass deportation

3 July 2020

For Immediate Release

The C19 People’s Coalition condemns calls for the mass deportation of foreign nationals from South Africa. It demands urgent action from government to prevent xenophobic violence.

A poster has been circulating on social media since the night of  July 2, in which the self-named ‘Mzansi Patriotic Front’ calls for the “mass deportation” of “all foreigners with citizenship or not” by the end of July 7.

A further call has been made by the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF) to meet on July 6 to plan attacks on foreign truck drivers. The ATDF proposes to block roads across the country, stopping trucks and seizing the keys of foreign drivers.

There are widespread reports of plans to target foreign-owned shops.

It is not the first time such calls have reached the public. The consequences, coupled with lack of decisive state action, have always been catastrophic. We are gravely concerned about the safety of South Africa’s migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers and undocumented people. Those from other parts of Africa and South East Asia are the most vulnerable.

These calls are a serious violation of the Constitution of the Republic. They contravene the values of Pan Africanism and human rights. They go against all the ideals of the anti-apartheid struggle and the founding principles of South Africa’s hard-won democracy. President Ramaphosa has repeatedly acknowledged the benefits of African integration and the negative impact of xenophobia, but the recent calls clearly indicate the existence of reactionary and fascist forces in South African society. Ramaphosa, as President of South Africa and Chair of the African Union, indeed the whole South African government, has a responsibility to protect all who live here, without prejudice to national origin.

We strongly call on the South African Government to act immediately and decisively to prevent violence. The President, the police, the intelligence services, and all competent national, provincial, and local institutions must show leadership and take urgent and proactive steps. These must:

1. Immediately investigate the forces behind these xenophobic calls and hold the instigators legally responsible. Those spreading misinformation, fuelling tensions, and inciting hatred and xenophobic violence at this volatile moment must be arrested and charged!

2. National, provincial and local government leaders must speak out urgently against any incitement to violence or discrimination. All officials must be accountable and transparent in acting to defuse tensions and address the circumstances that have led to these calls.

3. Government needs to involve broad communities in positive acts of solidarity. It must conduct, in and with communities, a proper analysis of the social, economic, and political complexities behind calls for expulsion and attacks. It must work with communities to address the root causes of the deprivation and insecurity that leads desperate people to resort to misdirected hatred and xenophobia.

4. Government must address the urgent need for equitable access to social services, employment and economic relief, to meet the needs of all people residing in our country. Failure to do so is linked to persistent and multiple forms of violence.

The government and the police must not minimise the danger posed by xenophobia. They must act immediately to prevent violence and loss of life.

Scapegoating of any group is not the answer to our problems. We must act in solidarity to advance a prosperous and socially just country for us all.

Issued by the C-19 People’s Coalition 

For comment please contact:

Victor Chikalogwe, Regional Solidarity Working Group: +27627421150

Roshila Nair, Basic Needs Working Group:+27648770434

Dale McKinley, Anti-repressionWorking Group; +27 72 429 4086

Mandla Masuku, Migrant Workers Union of South Africa: +27844857350