In recent weeks, the South African Department of Home Affairs announced stringent amendments to its immigration laws. The revised laws will not allow foreigners to apply for work permits from the host country and will also not allow those who overstay in the country to pay fines – but will ban them for a set number of years.
Millions of Zimbabweans live in South Africa, some legally and others illegally. Tightening South Africa’s porous borders with the new laws was a move not easily accepted by many. Many Zimbabweans know that if these news laws are effectively applied, their free reign in the country will be curtailed.
According to the South African Statistician General, Pali Lehohla, Zimbabweans constitute the largest number of immigrants to South Africa, He reported that 29% of permanent residence permits are given to Zimbabwean nationals. Therefore Zimbabweans are most affected by the new immigration laws.
South Africa has every right to protect its citizens through tightening its borders and guarding against undesirable elements coming in. To expect South Africa to sit back while its immigration laws are being defied is nothing but a recipe for disaster. Immigration laws should inspire confidence in citizens, where they feel that the needs of non-citizens are being placed ahead of their own.
The government should be at the forefront of ensuring harmonious co-existence among its citizens and foreign nationals – instead of exacerbating mistrust and animosity between the two groups, which can very well aggravate xenophobia.
Some Zimbabweans have come out guns blazing, rubbishing the new immigration laws in a manner only paralleled by a person who runs away from his burning home to seek shelter at a neighbour’s house, only to insult his host afterwards.
Here is one comment from the social networks, where everyone can share their opinions:
“You foolish South Africans always thought you were better than everyone else ignorant pathetic self-centred idiots you can’t stand Zimbabweans being better than you… so dumb doesn’t even describe you. Dumb is an understatement you are pathetic idiots the sooner you get used to the situation the better…you losers and deal with the fact that they (Zimbabweans) use their brains more than you losers.”
In response to such insults, one South Africans commented: “If Zimbabweans have a better illiteracy rate in Africa, then let them go home to make it work for them there in Zimbabwe.”
This has been the gist and spirit of interaction between Zimbabweans and South Africans on the new immigration regulations. Heated, insulting, offensive, aggressive, abusive, discourteous and outright disrespectful. Nobody expects Zimbabweans in South Africa to move around with tails between their legs because they are foreign nationals.
However, the supremacist and superior view that Zimbabweans seem to have towards South Africans – particularly previously disadvantaged groups who were denied proper education – is similar to the tale of a neighbour who insults his host once he starts getting comfortable.Post published in: Africa News