UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

HIGH LEVELS OF XENOPHOBIA IN SA

MEDIA STATEMENT ISSUED BY MALIZOLE DIKO
UDM NATIONAL SECRETARY

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is very concerned about the high levels xenophobia in our country as highlighted by recent media reports.

In Zandspruit near Randburg (Gauteng) informal settlement leaders have "declared war on foreigners" and angry residents demolished and burnt down several shacks believed to belong to Zimbabweans. To make matters worse, some residents believe that the arsonists mistakenly burnt the "wrong" shacks, as one Zimbabwean's home remained unaffected.

In another incident, a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm has now been opened against the Pretoria Dog Unit who allegedly set dogs on two Zimbabweans in the city and dumped them near Hammanskraal in the middle of the night. This leads to added concern, since the bad international exposure in November last year, when SAPS Dog Unit members had been arrested after SABC's Special Assignment, flighted a training exercise video showing dogs being set on illegal immigrants from Maputo.

The current debate on non-South Africans being involved in the country's private security industry also underlines the problem. The ANC must be careful when it makes statements in this regard. ANC MP, Mluleki George, said those foreigners who have interests in the security industry would have to "get out" should they not willingly sell their interests in the industry.

There might be merit in what Mr George has stated, seen in the light of the recent attacks on the USA and that it could be a security threat to South African if we don't "own" this specific industry; It seems as if the ANC is contradicting itself; President Mbeki is a vocal advocate of "importing" skills into South Africa. Obviously not security skills?

The UDM believes that the diminishing of resources occasioned by the economic policies pursued by the government has inflamed xenophobia among South Africans who feel threatened by the flood of migrants and refugees who have swarmed our borders in search of better opportunities.

Government must rearrange their order of priorities so as to place the interests of the poor and disadvantaged at the top, this will inhibit chronic industrial stoppages, rampant unemployment and retrenchments, escalating crime and xenophobia.

Enquiries:
Mr Malizole Diko
UDM National Secretary
 083-759-6637

Cape Town
27 September 2001