Let’s get it right this time

2015-04-26 15:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

South Africa was galvanised into saying #StopTheHate this past week.

It started last weekend, when President Jacob Zuma cancelled a trip to Indonesia to stay home and manage the crisis of a second major round of xenophobic attacks.

He held talks with ambassadors.

For the first time, South Africa was feeling the blowback for the attacks on foreigners. Marches were held at our consular offices; trade with big partners was threatened by tougher laws and borders were blocked by protesters.

The governing ANC started a massive campaign instructing that anti-xenophobia meetings be held in more than 5?000 branches. King Goodwill Zwelethini – who lit the xenophobia match – was forced into an imbizo that had symbolic peacemaking importance (although he did not properly apologise).

The army was deployed to hot spots. And civil society was galvanised into a programme of vigils and marches. The upshot: it’s pretty clear xenophobic violence is a minority pastime, even if anti-foreigner sentiment is probably more widespread.

All good – even great – for the scale of mobilisation we witnessed. But there is still this unfortunate fact: South Africa had a “grand plan” after the 2008 attacks. The plan ran the gamut from more effective criminal justice to community-led efforts to deal with anti-foreigner sentiments.

The plan included the installation of a desk in the police commissioner’s office to deal with xenophobic attacks and the development of an early warning system to enable a faster response.

But only one person has ever been convicted for xenophobic violence.

Now, we have another grand plan led by another interministerial task team.

This time, civil society and the chapter 9 institutions need to ensure accountability by insisting on a tracking system to ensure that the new plan is implemented and it works.

The only thing that must come from this season of killing is the lesson that it should never happen again.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.