Foreigners must go-Put South Africa First

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Bongani Siziba

A group of organisations coalesced under the Put South Africa first banner on Friday marched to the departments of Labour and that of Home Affairs in Pretoria to demand that all foreign nationals be deported from South Africa.

The movement claimed that foreigners were contributing to moral decadence among South African because of such ills as human trafficking, drug abuse and abductions; which they attributed to foreigners.

Put South Africa First founder and president Mario Khumalo accused the government of prioritising foreigners in terms of jobs and businesses at the expense of their citizens.

“We have a useless government that is not doing its job, we have a corrupt government, we have corrupt officials and also foreigners who are breaking the law. The majority of foreign nationals are bad people who must go back to their countries,” said Khumalo.

The group also demanded the cancellation of over 250 000 special dispensation permits given to Zimbabweans and Basotho and the immediate termination of all contracts given to foreigners in different sectors among them hospitality.

“We are here to claim our country back from foreigners because our government has failed us. The government must apply immigration laws and send back all foreigners back to their countries,” said Victoria Mamgobo, the national chairperson of Put South Africa First.

Lindiwe Mthwala, a 34-year-old South African said she was recently retrenched and was marching because she blames foreigners for her predicament.

“They must bring scarce skills because the skills because they are now costing us our regular jobs.”

“Even when they open businesses, they prioritise their compatriots.”

The marchers also accused the Department of Labour of failing to regulate the influx of foreign truck drivers who do not necessarily possess scarce skills.

The protestors gave the authorities 14 days to respond to them or they would continue protesting across the country until the government listens to them.

According to South Africa’s quarterly labour force survey for the first quarter of 2020, the official unemployment rate has increased by 1% from the fourth quarter of 2019. The number of unemployed people increased by 344 000 to 7,1 million while 38 000 jobs were lost.

In Johannesburg, foreigners marched and condemned Put South Africa First’s allegations.

Speaking on the sidelines of the foreigners’ march patron of the Nigerians in South Africa Okoligbo Manus said his compatriots had become scapegoats for all crimes.

“We condemn the allegations that foreign nationals especially Nigerians are responsible for illegal activities in South Africa. We have doctors and other professionals who are doing well. Not everyone is bad. If anyone among us commits a crime, they must be arrested instead of stereotyping everyone.”

Some of the foreign nationals who protested on Friday. Credit Bongani Siziba

Leader of the Zimbabwean community Bongani Mkwananzi also denounced the allegations.

“Crime has no nationality. Zimbabweans and Nigerians are always named when crimes are committed and we condemn any criminal activities while also urging all foreigners to abide by the law.”

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