Xenophobia Is Understandable If …

2017-03-12 15:24

(AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

... you are poor/unemployed!

Yes, I realise that this may seem to be a shocking statement to make, but if I try and put myself in the position of a poor/unemployed father of sick/starving children who sees immigrants (many illegal ones) having jobs that are providing them with the means to house and feed their families, I too may become a “xenophobe” – and that’s not a fear of foreigners … it’s a dislike/hatred of foreigners.

However, I'm certainly not condoning the violence that accompanies such xenophobic attitudes.

It’s very easy for the rich “do-gooders” of our society (including our well-paid Government officials) to condemn xenophobia, but they don’t have to look into the eyes of a starving family every night.

We, in South Africa, are in a “glass-full” situation ie we have massive unemployment, so that it follows that every job that a foreign worker occupies, theoretically puts a South African worker out of work – that’s totally logical!

Of course, there are some specialised jobs that require foreign workers’ skills and I’m therefore ignoring such jobs for the purposes of this opinion-piece.

I fear that it’s really a case of “the chickens coming home to roost”!

From 1994, the “new SA” welcomed all Africans into the country – it was like “moths being attracted to light” for many of the poor in Africa – there was this rich country down south that was now opening its arms to all fellow-Africans.

Of course, a large influx of immigrants, back in the 1990’s, was tolerable because with its new democracy, SA had experienced a massive inflow of foreign capital, with factories being built, international companies setting up divisions in SA etc and workers were in high demand.

But that’s no longer so!

We now have a massive unemployment problem mainly because of SA’s increasing “unattractiveness” to both local and foreign investors – caused by such things as

• labour unrest;

• "labour-friendly" (and therefore "business-unfriendly") legislation;

• B-BBEE and Affirmative Action;

• continual threats of nationalisation and land expropriation without compensation;

• mayhem in our Parliament;

• the strong influence of “outsiders” on our Government’s policy-making;

• etc etc.

What exacerbates the position is that there’s apparently a belief amongst many employers that foreign workers tend to work a lot better/harder than their local counterparts – and that’s for a whole number of reasons which I won’t elaborate on here.

So, what's the solution??


I may sound like Donald Trump when I say that, but I’m afraid it’s the only way we’ll reduce xenophobic violence AND our unemployment – “charity begins at home”!

Whilst what I’m suggesting may not be “PC” (politically correct), it’s certainly logical!

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