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Eldon Phukuile
 
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I am xenophobic – there I said it!

20 July 2012, 07:42

I am in strong disagreement with the current approach to make South Africa open to immigrants from other countries to come and seek a better life - at least, in it's current form. Now, this is probably not going to win me any friends, and may even be criticized as selfish and biting the hand that “fed” me. So be it. The current situation is just not working for me.

Having this view makes me xenophobic. That is a risk that I am prepared to take. I will live with that - and incidentally, I believe that I am at least being honest, and this opens the door to debate and to getting "help."

South Africa has huge social challenges of its own - with and about it's own people. I believe that South Africa does belong to all who live in it, and this is a beautiful ideal to have. I am questioning whether we need any more people to "live in it" other than those of us who were born here, or those fellow world citizens who are above the income tax threshold from the onset - as soon as they arrive here.

There is nothing wrong... No, there is everything right with seeking a better life for yourself and for your family. If that means crossing borders, then that's what you have to do. As a productive, value adding South African, I haven't got any say or influence over how my tax contribution is being spent. Moreover, I feel less and less value coming to me directly from municipal and governmental services, so I am revolting and blaming all sort to peripheral issues that bother me anyway - so that I can get it off my chest and feel better, and so that I can inspire and mobilize my fellow South Africans to mobilize with me and demand some changes.

You see - if I want to emigrate from South Africa to Dubai, America, Europe or Oceania - they only want you, or allow you into their country if you fulfill certain stringent requirements. These are things like... Right age, right bank balance, right work experience, ability to add value to their country from the onset. By default, this means that those of us with the ability to emigrate are qualified and able South Africans who have the ability and resources to build this country. So those of us who leave contribute to the brain drain, and are replaced - in multiples - by desperate, poor, needy and most likely - by illegal migrants who strain our resources.

All the blame should not be placed on immigrants though. Lately I have been noticing that foreigners have taken many of the “menial” jobs. By this I mean that I detect an increase in Zimbabwean and other African accents for jobs like security, waiters, car guards and teachers. Good on them - I say, good on them. To me this indicates that there are two systemic problems in South African society:

1. South Africans are unwilling to do these jobs because they are above them, and because they are waiting on the government to deliver their unsustainable human rights and allowances. This way, we can sit at home, do nothing and feed our attitude of entitlement

2. South Africans are unwilling to work for the wages offered because we demand a higher wage for a lower efficiency. This is indicative in some of the reports that we hear that South Africa is unable to compere with China and India and the other BRIC countries because they are above us in their approach to education, poverty, infrastructure development, innovation, low cost of labour, ease of doing business, ease of allowing foreign investment, ability to implement policy, ability to police and enforce legislation, and with their relaxed labour relations environment.

So our own sense of entitlement, laziness and backsliding in owning our country and our destiny has made good people l Ike myself xenophobic. That is not fair. Neither is it right. How many times have I seen that foreigners now run shops that were previously owned by South Africans? I think that this deserves our respect. These people have taken risks, have gone for broke and have done all that they could to carve out opportunities for themselves and earn a living. In return, instead of learning from them and emulating this, we buy from them, we enrich them, we revolt against them and we burn down their shops.

I believed that the problem lies with us, the complacent, lazy, expectant South Africans. We lack will. We lack innovation. We lack the right values. We love to depend on others. We don't know what is the right way, or what the right things to want are - and when we don't get our way, we trash the country, it's infrastructure, and we blame things around us.

I think that we, as South Africans, deserve our problems!

Another gripe before I end… I know that there are political leaders, and other citizens in this country who survived the apartheid era by taking refuge in other countries, going into exile and so forth. Now that the tide has turned, they need to “pay back” and make our borders porous. STOP THIS CRAP. I don’t care that you went into exile – that is too bad, so sad. I don’t care whom you owe what. I care about what impacts me, and what affects me today – and this open border thing is simply and irritatingly standing in my way.

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