2011 – The perfect storm?

passop_headerCAPE TOWN - For the past six months local South Africans in taxis, trains and public spaces have warned Zimbabweans that when the world cup soccer is over they will be dealt with.

These reports have been increasing in frequency and we believe that such rumours have spread across the whole of South Africa. Strange as it may sound there are several indicators that should make us cautious of the era after the 2010 FIFA world cup.

For South Africa, 2010 must be a safe year and there can be no disruptions while the world is focused on us. Media companies from all over the world are in South Africa searching the country for any signs of instability; the high levels of violence and crime are already in the spotlight. If there was any doubt about how sacred the world cup soccer is to South Africa it should have been dismissed by the facilitation team (President Zuma sent earlier this year). They announced in meetings with both Zanu (PF) and the MDC that they would not allow Zimbabwe or Xenophobia to embarrass South Africa during the world cup.

South African communities have interpreted threats by the government against disrupting the world cup as a mere delay in their new social disease of xenophobia.

Concern over stability in 2011 is further aggravated by the South African municipal elections, which will (in many wards) be strongly contested. If there are also Zimbabwean elections in 2011 we may have created a perfect storm. How will we avoid a likely mass xenophobic attack against Zimbabweans? Will Zimbabweans not be chased and killed by South African mobs, probably chanting, Go home and vote!

Some local South African politicians will likely see opportunity in hate speech, like the councillor implicated in the xenophobic violence targeted against Zimbabweans in De Doorns last year. While other politicians will be too afraid to loose votes and will opt to quietly watch the horrific events.

We need to try and avoid such a scenario, the situation could hardly be worse. We can start by calling on politicians to focus on long-term solutions, providing safety to foreigners in South Africa long past 2010.

We would like to salute the De Doorns displaced community for their amazing courage, they have made Zimbabwe proud by standing up for their rights- if you have family in De Doorns be proud.

We would like to thank Econet for providing them with 1000 sim cards. The sim cards were so popular we ran out, so expect us to come begging for more!

Zimbabweans living in South Africa love the new Econet/Cell C lines because with them cell phone calls to Zimbabwe cost less than 2 Rand.

Post published in: Opinions

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