Alex strife a wake-up call

We strongly condemn the latest violent attacks on foreigners in Alexandra.

We strongly condemn the latest violent attacks on foreigners in Alexandra.

Given our history of human rights violations, we are concerned that we have been swift to abuse the rights of others.

This incident is a wake-up call to all South Africans. Our country is currently facing enormous socio-economic problems, such as scarcity of resources, unemployment and high-crime rates.

There is increasing frustration among South Africans about the lack of solutions to these problems.

What has happened in Alex is not only a demonstration of our inability to adequately address the needs of migrants, but also the needs of marginalised South Africans.

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation understands this and feels that the concerns of the people of Alexandra and the majority, who are increasingly feeling excluded from the current economy, must be heard.

But we strongly condemn the use of violence to solve these problems.

Making the most vulnerable people around the scapegoat for our problems must end. Many of these foreigners come from troubled countries. They are trying to survive and take care of their families, just like we did during apartheid.

The vast majority of migrants come from other African countries, where there are widespread human rights violations.

These vulnerable people require psycho-social support, medical care, food and other basic needs.

Besides stronger border control, we should support the development of stronger economies and the consolidation of democracy in these countries.

South Africans have to speak out against human rights violations and dictatorships in Africa.

If we do not challenge African dictators, we will continue to have economically struggling African states, which results in an influx of migrants from the continent.

Silence about human rights violations amounts to condoning those violations.

Malose Langa, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Johannesburg