We can’t not speak out about foreign nationals because we fear offending the ‘friends of Africans’

Foreign nationals protesting outside the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court after fellow migrants were arrested due to lack of documentation. Picture: Sandile Ndlovu
Foreign nationals protesting outside the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court after fellow migrants were arrested due to lack of documentation. Picture: Sandile Ndlovu

This is a response from Modidima Mannya to Jo Vearey and Gina Snyman after their rebuttal to the article he had written on xenophobia

Minister Naledi Pandor hit the nail on the head when she implored African leaders not to destroy their countries.

But she will not escape the normal rhetoric that she is simplistic in her approach and barking up the wrong tree.

To avoid this rhetoric she would have to say things like the root cause of our problem is white monopoly capital, imperialism and our corruption.

The issue of the conflict between Africans is but that. It was a conflict between Africans on matters affecting Africans.

The friends of Africans, whom author Edgar Brookes referred to, will not take kindly to an African telling other Africans the truth.

This is because only these friends of Africans know the truth and only they have a licence to tell it.

My own opinion piece was called dangerous discourse by two white people who live in the age of colonialism and apartheid and who do not want me as an African to condemn in the strongest terms my own African brothers, some of whom peddle drugs and are involved in all manner of social evil.

Read: Stop spreading dangerous lies. Foreign migrants are not root cause of SA’s problem

As an African, I engage in dangerous discourse when I condemn the disrespect to the authority of my state.

The white apartheid government loves what it sees today.

It is marvelling because it never wanted other Africans in this country and used all sort of cruel methods to exclude them.

The apartheid machinery and its apologists would love what we see today: black life remains cheap, black children are fed drugs, black police officers are attacked by their own and there must be lawlessness where black people live.

We must not forget that it was the so-called friends of Africans who distorted our national reconciliation project and redetermined its terms.

It was them who led our forebears into exile and called them terrorists. They engineered fights among us.

They get very uncomfortable when we coach each other and tell each other the truth. They do not like that.

I have grown up and was taught that I do not need the affirmation of white people for anything I say or think.

English may not be my first language but it is complicated when a white person, educated for that matter, cannot understand the simple principle that the state spends billions providing support to migrants.

The state does not have to buy cars for migrants or pay for their holiday to prove that it supports them.

This applies to all migrants, including those who come from Europe and elsewhere who receive services from the state like citizens.

The dangerous discourse in this matter is our failure to address the criminality of white migrants.

One such migrant is one of the many who has been identified as part of the drug cartels feeding our children and nation this toxic stuff.

He led an underworld for a while until he was arrested. He has a number of murders under his name.

My two white critics will not venture in this direction for very obvious reasons.

I am an African and will not apologise to them or any white person for my views. With their level of education, they could do better by developing a proper argument instead of their shallow reasoning.

Apartheid has not helped them at all. It is our responsibility as Africans to tell each other the truth and not pretend like the so-called friends of Africans.

I am not the only one who condemned the criminality and in particular the murder of a black person by an alleged drug peddler.

The African Diaspora Forum has done so in even stronger terms. Their strong terms are understandable because for them black life is not cheap unlike the so-called friends of Africans.

Kenyan intellectual, Professor Patrick Lumumba, has been the lone voice in condemning some of the behaviour of Africans.

Minister Pandor has joined and many others will follow.

Our story and our relationships as Africans is defined in the Organisation of Africa (OAU) unity charter.

The founding fathers of the OAU understood our context and objective as an African continent. They did not need white affirmation for their views.

Central to this charter are two important issues.

The first is the building of friendship between the people of Africa and the second is the benefit that Africans must enjoy from their wealth.

These two issues are interlinked and the one cannot exist without the other.

Our friendship can only be based on mutual love and respect.

There cannot be any mutual love and respect when some are seen as an opportunity to make money out of illegal activity, including feeding their children and nation with drugs.

There cannot be mutual love and respect if the one does not respect the sovereignty of another.

Fighting our police in the execution of their duties is a direct affront to the authority of our constitutional order.

We cannot be asked to apologise for speaking out against criminality done under the guise of migration because we fear offending the so-called friends of Africans. We just cannot.

South Africa is no better endowed with natural and mineral wealth than many other African countries.

Nigeria is one of the oil-producing countries in Africa. It is the most populous African nation. It has earned a reputation the world over in drug peddling.

This is a matter of public record that these two so-called friends of Africans seek to ignore.

The point Minister Pandor makes is exactly what the founding fathers of the OAU raised and sought to commit Africa to. To brand her call simplistic is rather an aggravated form of ignorance.

If the founding fathers of the OAU achieved their primary objective and all subsequent African leaders followed their objective, migration in Africa will be having a completely different meaning.

We would not have these incessant wars on our continent. We would not have these problems of some migrating to other countries to peddle drugs and fight the police.

Every country in Africa would have a proper bill of rights. Africa would be a powerful economic global player.

We would have less poverty, unemployment and inequality. The movement of people in Africa would not be restricted because no one would pose a threat to the existence and well-being of others.

The so-called friends of Africans are less concerned about the devastation of Africa and the impact of crime on black people because for them black life does not matter.

Their interest is to maintain the artificial status of South Africa as one of the best in the world.

They have found a good excuse of a struggle for power at a local level and the normal accusation that black people at local level are fighting for power.

The rest of the black people are so idiotic to allow themselves to be used in these power struggles.

That is what we have become in the eyes of the so-called friends of Africans.

They argue that migrants have no access to housing, medical care, funding for education and social grants.

This is exactly where being educated and ignorant is dangerous, particularly when you hold a superiority mentality view.

Black people who live in areas ravaged by this conflict can tell a better daily life experience.

Not a semi-educated professor or advocate living a comfortable life somewhere insulated by high walls and hourly patrols of their properties.

Those who buy from spaza shops are better placed to articulate their problems. Those whose children are exposed to drugs can tell the story better.

Those who know the actual occupancy rate of RDP housing can tell the story better. The mayor who has been fighting the hijacking of buildings in our economic hub can tell the story better.

The African Diaspora Forum and traditional leaders who are seized with these problems daily can tell the story better.

The former minister of health, who decried the overcrowding of our hospitals by foreign nationals, was not out of his mind.

The two so-called friends of Africans have missed all of these and many other problems.

The permanent solution for the African migration problems and the challenges that go with it does not lie somewhere in Britain, France, Germany, the US, China, Russia or elsewhere but in Africa.

The blueprint is there designed by great African patriots and leaders. All that is needed is that it be given effect and implemented without fail.

Minister Pandor is reminding us of what our forebears desired.

As we implement the principles of the OAU charter, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decree must be enforced without fail.

Immigrants who take problems to other countries must be returned to their countries.

. Mannya is an advocate and writer

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