JOHANNESBURG, March 28 – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Tuesday endorsed a march by the United Front against xenophobia in a bid to quell the recent upsurge of violent attacks on foreign nationals in Johannesburg and also slammed city mayor, Herman Mashaba.
“As Numsa we condemn in the strongest terms any acts of violence against our brothers and sisters from the continent. Those who spread thuggery, hatred and violence against our brothers and sisters on the continent must be exposed and arrested for their criminal behaviour,” Numsa said in a statement.
The Coalition Against Xenophobia – a movement made up of several civil society organisations, government officials, concerned citizens, trade unions, and African migrant community leaders – will hold the “Jozi Solidarity March Against Xenophobia and Racism” on Tuesday.
The Jozi solidarity march against xenophobia and racism will begin at the Pieter Roos Park on Empire Road in Hillbrow and end at the Library Gardens in central Johannesburg.
Earlier this month, the Coalition Against Xenophobia marched to the Union Buildings to deliver a memorandum condemning recent xenophobic attacks.
Numsa also condemned anti-foreigner statements made by Johannesburg mayor, Mashaba, who is a member of the Democratic Alliance (DA) party. The union said Mashaba was responsible for the recent attacks on the immigrant community.
During his 100 days in office address in 2016 Mashaba said: “Illegal immigrants are holding our country to ransom” and were linked to criminal activity in the city.
Last month Rosettenville residents marched to the houses they suspected where being used as drug dens and brothers. The houses thought to belong to Nigerians were set alight.
The residents said they were ridding the area of drugs and prostitution. Around a dozen homes were torched in the Johannesburg south suburb as well as a night club, a brothel and an alleged drug den which were apparently being run by Nigerians.
Mashaba has since met with the Nigerian Consulate and leaders from the Nigerian community in South Africa to address xenophobia within the city and emphasised the importance of working in collaboration to address the problem of xenophobia and prevent attacks.
The Johannesburg mayor has since explained that his comments were directed only at illegal immigrants involved in crime in the city.
However, Numsa said it rejects the “opportunistic right wing politics” which sought to imprison and cut South Africa out of the African continent.
“The DA must be held directly responsible for this anarchy. Mashaba, is just like U.S. president Donald Trump for promoting xenophobia, racism, anti-poor policies and actions, championing backward, primitive and counter revolutionary stereotypes,” Numsa said.
“The real struggle we must wage, is a struggle to uproot the continuation of colonisation of a special type in South Africa, which is responsible for the high levels of poverty and unemployment inequality in the country.”
– African News Agency (ANA)