Protests will cripple SA, experts warn

2015-04-21 15:35
An EFF member holding up a poster against xenophobia walks through Alexandra. (Thomas Hartleb, News24)

An EFF member holding up a poster against xenophobia walks through Alexandra. (Thomas Hartleb, News24)

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Durban - Experts say a fresh wave of unrest will cripple the country.

This follows a service delivery protest in Marriannhill outside Durban yesterday, while the government was still battling to curb xenophobic attacks.

A day after King Goodwill Zwelithini addressed thousands at an anti-xenophobia Imbizo at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, a new wave of protests hit the city - this time a volatile service delivery protest in Marriannhill.

In Isipingo, on the KZN South Coast, police also had to try and curb xenophobic attacks.

Political analyst Protas Madlala said for people to protest after being addressed by the king, shows a blatant disregard of his authority.  

“Today just proves that he [Zwelithini] is irrelevant to the people of KwaZulu-Natal, and everything he said during his anti-xenophobia Imbizo on Monday went in the one ear and out the other,” Madlala told News24.

“The Imbizo was irrelevant because it did not address the key issues facing South Africans. People are hungry; they are poor and want jobs. Did the Imbizo address those issues? No,” he said.

‘Political posturing’

He said the anti-xenophobia imbizo was mere “political posturing”.  

“Yesterday we were dealing with xenophobia and today [Tuesday] in Durban there are service delivery protests. Our country is exploding and it is only going to get worse as we head towards the local general elections,” said Madlala.

He urged government to go back to the basics.

“Behind these xenophobic attacks is corruption. Authorities know there are foreigners living in South Africa without proper documentation.

"When I went to study in America, one of the conditions was that I could not get a job there. The day I completed my exams I was asked when I would be leaving the country."

KwaZulu-Natal Violence Monitor Mary de Haas said that South Africa was on a downward spiral.

“Anarchy is creeping in. We are heading towards a state of lawlessness,” she said.

“We are going to have the local government elections soon and I am afraid things are only going to get worse and more people are afraid to stick their heads out of their windows to help.

"If we had properly functioning government departments, this would not be happening. If people just did what they get paid to do, we wouldn’t have xenophobia and service delivery protests,” De Haas said.


Economist Mike Schussler said South Africa was dealing with too many problems.

“I think for the first time since the dawn of our democracy we are in a situation where we have an array of things going against us. We have electricity constraints, water shortages, poor infrastructure and road networks that are dysfunctional," Schussler told News24.

“Africa means more to us than we realise. We export more goods to African countries than anywhere else."

A senior lecturer at University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Accounting, Economics & Finance believes the government could have handled the xenophobia issue better.

Harold Ngalawa said, “We have had colleagues repatriated from Mozambique and that is the direct impact that xenophobia has had on the country. If there is a reduction of South African production in Mozambique, that will have a negative gross national income.”

He said government needed to do damage control because "we have shown the international community that we lack tolerance".

He disagreed with the other experts, however, saying South Africa was not at a breaking point yet. 

“I wouldn’t say that things are out of control yet, but the government needs to do major damage control,” said Ngalawa.

Read more on:    durban  |  economy  |  xenophobia  |  service delivery

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