By Alois Vinga
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has castigated what it called South Africa’s lukewarm response to xenophobia.
In a statement issued Thursday, ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo said while the recent resurgence of xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals by South Africans are disturbing and unfortunate, the soft styled response from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration is worrisome.
“What is most disturbing is the lukewarm response by the South African authorities in protecting the foreign nationals, most of whom are economic refugees seeking out an honest living. We also call upon the South African government to put in place practical policies that safeguard migrants and bring a lasting solution to the ever resurfacing xenophobic attacks,” Moyo said.
Moyo said that the bulk of foreigners being attacked are migrant workers who fled their countries due to poor economic conditions adding South Africa has historically shown an unwillingness to protect foreigners.
“We also note that during the last attacks in 2008, 2015 and 2017 the South African authorities did very little to investigate and bring to book the culprits. This lack of political will resulted in the perpetrators believing that they can repeat xenophobic acts with impunity,” Moyo said.
He reminded Ramaphosa’s government that South Africa’s economic stability was achieved with help from “fellow brothers and sisters on the continent.”
“South Africa’s success and independence came as a result of migrant labour and the sacrifice of Frontline States in the fight against apartheid. Since time immemorial, migrant labour has been part and parcel of Southern Africa. What is happening now is highly unfortunate and a dangerous attack on pan-Africanism,” he said.
The ZCTU boss said that South Africa has an obligation to uphold Article 3 (a) and (f) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which encourages greater unity and solidarity between African States and African people, as well as the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent.
Moyo said as a member of Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc), South African authorities are aware of the provisions of the regional body’s Treaty Article 5.2 (d) that encourages the “elimination of all obstacles to free movement of capital and labour, goods and services and of the people of the region generally among member states,” as well as the Sadc Protocol on the Facilitation of Movement of Persons signed on 18 August 2005, of which it is a signatory.