Foreigners fight our police, challenge the state’s authority. It is unheard of

It is unheard of that foreign nationals can go as far as fighting our police and challenging the state’s authority

The issue of foreign nationals in this country will be like those of the abuse of women and racism if we remain lethargic in dealing with it, especially for those who think feeding our children drugs is a human rights issue.

We have been too lethargic in dealing with the abuse of women and racism.

Our lethargy is rooted in our desire to appear politically correct.

Many other countries are cracking the whip and dealing with these issues as we continue to pretend that they are not our modern calamities.

It is unheard of that foreign nationals, some of whom are in the country illegally and involved in social ills and crime, can go as far as openly fighting our police and challenging the authority of the state.

Our immigration policy does not confine immigrants to camps, and envisages that they become part and parcel of our society.

For this they owe it to the communities in which they live not to be a nuisance.

There are immigrants in this country who are refugees because of political persecution in their countries.

These are men and women whose rights have been taken away by despotic leaders and who require the support of all of us in their hour of need.

However, they remain obliged to reciprocate by respecting our values and not creating problems for us.

Then there is the category of immigrants who are here solely to seek economic opportunity.

It is this category which has been our real trouble; which is here simply for personal benefit and has no interest in becoming part of our society.

It cannot be unreasonable for South Africans to demand that foreign nationals not take their jobs, overcrowd their hospitals, benefit from their social housing policy or get social grants.

To stretch immigration rights to that level is asking too much of us.

Those who seek political correctness by arguing that foreign nationals have a right to be here must try their luck and emigrate to the countries of these immigrants to taste how immigrants are treated.

Let them emigrate to Nigeria and see whether they can even be considered for a job, based on the executive order signed by Muhammadu Buhari, the president of that country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya aptly put it when he said immigrants who peddle drugs in his country must be deported back to their countries.

Ghana has deported some of them without seeking the permission of their country of origin.

Many countries are doing so because it is the right thing to do.

In our case, immigrants can enter the country illegally, be employed illegally, acquire houses illegally, hijack buildings, commit all manner of crime and fight our police officers.

They can shoot to death a taxi driver who protests the fact that they sell drugs to our children, and it becomes normal.

They can manufacture illegal goods and feed our citizens with dangerous toxins, and it becomes normal.

They can hover around our schools and sell drugs to our children, and it is normal. They can get involved in human trafficking, and it is normal.

All because we do not want to be seen as xenophobic.

If Buhari does not want foreign nationals to be employed in his country, why should we employ Nigerians?

He would act decisively if there was drug dealing in his country, as President Kenyatta has pronounced.

Our president must rise to the occasion and defend this nation against this abuse.

Unless our leaders act decisively, we will continue to endure the blackmail of those who failed their own citizens who are in our country because of the adverse material conditions in their own countries.

We will continue to be threatened and not even protest the fact that they are the root cause of our troubles. We will forever continue to question ourselves and our laws in our guilt.

The reality is that we are nowhere near solving our troubles unless we confront the real issues.

In equal measure, the scourge of the abuse of women and children continues unabated.

Again we want to be politically correct and pretend that we do not know the root cause of the problem.

We remain delusional about the fact that we have paid lip service to the true emancipation of women.

We want to please religious and cultural bigotry which institutionalised patriarchy.

We have allowed the justice service to get away with its failure to effectively deal with the abuse of women.

Our leaders are quick to promise tougher laws when they can hardly have the ones already in existence enforced.

None of our leaders is prepared to tell the church or traditional leaders that they are central to the continued perverse nature of patriarchy, or to stand up and say that our education system continues to fail to mould our young ones appropriately.

All we see people bragging about are the national senior certificate results year in, year out.

They forget that these children will soon be dependent on the drugs fed to them by some of these foreign nationals and will have no jobs and become a burden to our fiscus.

Sthembiso Lebuso

Abuse against women has been pervasive for as long as anyone wants to remember, despite our stated position to fight for a nonsexist society.

Even with one of the best bills of rights in the world, it has been normal that the abuse of women goes on unabated.

The public statements made by our leaders, in particular every time there is an uproar about this abuse, have become tiresome.

It must now be dismissed as cheap talk that does not go to the heart of the problem.

The abuse of women in the main has its roots in the perverse patriarchy which continues to thrive and be sponsored by those who benefit from it.

More and more laws will be passed and/or tightened supposedly to deter potential offenders.

That is at least what our absentee leaders think and wish for.

There will also be public statements condemning the abuse of women so that we see our leaders on television screens.

The abuse of women is not an accident by any means; over the years society has institutionalised it.

For many years we have not made a real effort through the appropriate systems to address this problem.

Some of the main abusers and the abused were not even born when we committed as a nation to a nonsexist society.

They are now adults trapped in conflict and abuse.

This must make one wonder whether those yet to be born will escape this scourge, if we continue on this delusional path that we will solve the problem through cheap talk.

Our society has probably become more violent since the advent of democracy. We can no longer argue that apartheid created this culture of violence.

Our democracy is being questioned partly because it has also institutionalised a culture of entitlement.

It has further institutionalised what apartheid and patriarchy created.

We pretend that our girl children are not being abused in our schools and churches where they are supposed to get the highest level of safety.

We pretend that women are not being abused in their homes and workplaces where they are supposed to get the highest level of safety.

We pretend that having women in positions of authority in any way impacts on the nature and the scope of the abuse of women.

We know very well what happens to women who walk into our police stations to report abuse.

We know how inefficient the system of protection orders is and also how it is being abused.

We know for a fact that our police and justice systems are ill-equipped to deal with cases of abuse against women and children.

We also know how some continue to discredit the genuine cause of women who are at the receiving end of abuse, by making false claims of abuse.

The saying that black life is cheap in fact holds true.

If it was not, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) would not be negotiating pittance fines with racist bigots who can afford to pay money to be allowed to roam freely in our society and continue with their racist bigotry.

There is no doubt that we all carry the responsibility to attain the nonracial, nonsexist democratic order we fought so hard for.

But even then, we cannot be expected to tolerate spoilers who have no interest whatsoever in our primary objective.

The fine system spearheaded by the SAHRC is meant to discredit our desire for a nonracial society by trivialising racist bigotry.

Racists smile all the way to freedom, like the abusers of women, courtesy of this commission which, by all means, has become a protector of racists.

Twenty-five years later, the delusional SAHRC still believes that it can retrain old bigoted racists to change their ways.

It is the very delusional commission that thinks it understands better the rights of those who are against our nation and who are hellbent on destroying our future.

The SAHRC has not once gone out to teach these bigots the true meaning of human rights, but is very quick to condemn what is sees as violations by citizens whose rights are violated daily.

Feeding our children drugs and causing problems for citizens is a gross violation of our human rights.

  • Mannya is an advocate, writer and academic
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