Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
I am disturbed by South Africans who are threatening foreigners with violence after the World Cup.
The recent xenophobic violence was sparked partly by the "misconception" that foreigners were stealing jobs from locals. The opposite is actually true. Foreigners are job creators. Statistics show that visitors from Africa and the Middle East spend more money here than people from the US. The seven top-spending countries in 2005 were from southern Africa, including Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Ironically, people from these countries were the most targeted during the recent violence.
South Africa should welcome legal immigration and stop illegal immigration. Foreigners are integral to South Africa's growth.
Not only have immigrants been affected by xenophobic violence in which 62 people were killed and thousands displaced, but foreign African workers also suffer labour exploitation. Foreign nationals are often not treated fairly in terms of labour law requirements where many do not receive paid leave and are not registered with the UIF.
Dastardly acts of violence by cowards do all of us and our country a serious injustice. Let us be mindful of that simple yet profound Xhosa saying Umuntu ngumuntu ngabanye bantu - People are people because of other people.
We are bound to other Africans by history, culture, economics and, above all, destiny. South Africa is not and will never be an island separate from the rest of the continent.
"Never, never and never again shall this beautiful land experience the oppression of one by another," Nelson Mandela said.
Felix Brown, Bronkhorstspruit