South African xenophobia: the time to act is now

dlamini__zumaSouth Africa must act tough on the xenophobia which is continuing. Where were the authorities because this thing has been said over a long time and they were denying it? If the perpetrators and those who incited them in the last wave had been brought to book that could have been a deterrent, nothing happened and th

There is no doubt in my mind that some politicians there may actually be behind this and the truth needs to be told otherwise we are seeing the seeds of Rwanda germinating and growing. South Africa is a disaster waiting to happen if this is not STOPPED and the time is now. I make no apologies to anyone tall, short, thick, thin, black, white, purple, pink, we are nurturing genocide just because we cannot rebuke South Africa because of its past.

But that is a weakness because all of us have a bad past; Europe has a bad past of NAZI Invasions, Jews have a bad past from holocaust, Afro-Americans have a bad past from slavery, native Americans, Australians and Canadians all have a bad past based on the savagery of colonisation.

The former Soviet-bloc has a bad past from Stalin, Cambodia has a bad past from the Pol Pot era, Ndebeles in Zimbabwe have a bad past emanating from Gukurahundi, white farmers and opposition supporters in Zimbabwe have a recent bad past that emanates from persecution by misguided Zanu (PF) elements.

Zimbabweans in general were the collective victims of the barbarism of Ian Smiths milder form of apartheid with all its repression and humiliation.

Malawians were at the receiving end of Kamuzu Bandas Young Pioneers, the Congolese under Mobutu Sese Seko, Ugandans under Idi Amin, Latin Americans during the military dictatorships, Tshaka in his youth, Senzangakona and Mzilikazi at the hands of Ntombazi and Zwide, the sons and daughters of Israel under Pharaoh, Muslims during the bloody Christian Crusades, the list is endless.

Loving us by day

I am sensitive to history but it cannot continue to shape us and we can never use history as an excuse to fail to act against clearly devoid and vile deeds such as the barbaric attacks of foreigners in South Africa.

I find a lot of fault in South African politicians because they appear to love us during day and then turn a blind eye to the savage attacks of our people in their country.

The relationship between Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland does not start with the sacrifices of the former frontline states during the countrys struggle against apartheid. The relationship predates even colonisation, it is a relationship penned in our genes; these are bloody ties that have been expressed through all the generations.

The Venda of South Africa have their roots in the Mwene Mutapa Empire, the Rozvi mainly of Zimbabwe have their roots in the BaLobedu/BaLotzwi and BaPedi of South Africa, the Ndebele have their roots originally in the Ndwandwe and later Tshakas Zulu.

The fact that we are different countries now is mainly because of the designs of colonisation and with it the utti possedettis doctrine which completely changed the concept of nationhood as it had been known before.

It is because of that doctrine that Venda nationhood which was supposed to be on both sides of the Limpopo became Zimbabwe and South African nationhood, and the same goes for Kalanga, Gaza, Zulu or Shona nationhood.

Window dressing

I am surprised that we are folding our arms to a minority misguided element in South Africa who may actually have no history of even suffering under apartheid whatsoever. There is a thug element in it and the fact that we are all turning a blind eye on them makes me angry to the deepest vein of my emotion mechanism.

While the deployment of the police and later the army to quell the attacks is welcome this may be window dressing in light of the fact that there is still an international presence in South Africa after the World Cup.

I like South Africa and all its people because unlike some people I am always aware of the bloody ties that still remain relevant between its people and our people. Without that symbiosis the histories of the two countries will be incomplete.

I have confidence in the majority of South Africans who are more than knowledgeable and enlightened to know what not to do. I have had the opportunity of interacting with South Africans both in South Africa and Zimbabwe and even here in the United Kingdom. I have nothing else but veneration and I cherish the time I have spent with them.

Hypocrisy

I have even taught and represented South Africans at different stages of my professional life and to me they remain my brothers and sisters. My confidence in them is overwhelming. But unfortunately I do not have confidence especially on this matter with the politicians in South Africa, in street language they are playing up simple. They are shrouded in hypocrisy especially on Zimbabwe.

The deployment of soldiers is simply reactive and the risk of re-occurrence remains inherent. South Africa could have done much better by a combination of a clear deterrent in punishing the crime and going back to the grassroots to teach them on the dangers of xenophobia.

In particular the government must not shy away from saying why they have opened up to immigration and be honest to the people that the skills that the foreigners are bringing are needed in the country. They should also be clear that there is no alternative if there really is no alternative.

And that the Government of Zimbabwe and Simon Kaya Moyo is saying nothing and doing nothing makes it even more painful. South Africa too remains with the duty as a regional power to see to it that they address within SADC the importance of developing coherent strategies and policies to rid the region of poverty.

As long as South Africa is the only industrialised country in the region not only will its own continued growth be stunted but at the same time the immigrants will be finding their way into the country.

Part of the problem

The fact that South Africa is complicit in the blocking of the growth of a regional mechanism for promoting the rule of law as seen by Zimbabwes continuing contempt to the SADC Tribunal and South Africas failure to act against Harare is testimony of how South Africas misplaced priorities are contributory to the problems we see in the region.

All SADC countries without exception can easily grow their own industrial capacities with the diverse resource bases they have.

Zimbabwe is in an even better position as those resources are all matched by a relatively developed infrastructure and an educated workforce all of which are underutilised because of the corruption and waywardness of its leadership again at the implied encouragement of South Africa.

A country such as Zimbabwe, with its population at around 12 million will be a very rich country with a GDP of US$100 billion and given its abundant resource I do not think this is really far-fetched.

Xenophobia is a product of failed policies of South Africa on both the domestic and foreign fronts that have allowed sacred cows to emerge in the region. Sacred cows that can violate human rights and be corrupt while South Africa shields them from censor.

Julius Sai Mutyambizi-Dewa is the chairman of Communities Point, a Zimbabwean pressure group. He writes in his own capacity.

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