- Greg Nicolson
Blockade a road or burn down a building and those in authority will pay attention to your grievances. Throw faeces and a colonial statue gets removed. Assault and kill foreign nationals and government, political leaders and civil society start working like we have never seen them doing. This is by no means a silver lining to the xenophobic attacks. It is an indication of what it takes to get heard and for action to be taken in South Africa. What will happen when the violence abates? Does everyone go back to resting on their laurels? The more terrifying question to contemplate is what will it take next to draw attention to a nation in crisis? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Advocate GEORGE BIZOS SC on Thursday said it was unfathomable to him how South Africans could show such unimaginable cruelty to people from other parts of the continent. Speaking at a Mail & Guardian and University of South Africa Critical Thinking Forum in Pretoria, Bizos said he thought the word ‘xenophobia’ was misplaced. “This isn’t about fear of foreigners. This is far more malevolent than that: rather, we are dealing here with the hatred of foreigners...” he said. This is the full text of his speech.
Even before the current outbreak of xenophobic violence, South Africa wasn’t the most popular kid in the African bloc. In its wake, however, our image lies in tatters and there are continent-wide protests outside our embassies (the likes of which have not been seen since the international anti-apartheid movement targeted the regime’s diplomats). Even though President Jacob Zuma has moved swiftly to mollify angry African governments, the damage has already been done – and there will be a price to pay. By SIMON ALLISON.
Cape Town has been less affected by the current outburst of xenophobic violence than Durban and Johannesburg, but past events have proved that xenophobic currents are alive and well in the city. On Thursday, business people from across the African continent came together to talk about the challenges and frustrations of commerce in a country that sometimes seems to hate them. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Thousands of people marched through the streets of Johannesburg on Thursday against the spate of xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg. The crowd comprised a cross section of society, including different political groups, classes, both locals and migrants. While attacks on foreigners have only occurred in select areas, the march proved that many believe foreign lives matter. GREG NICOLSON brings you the pictures.
Last week, the Sunday Times caused shockwaves when it published photographer James Oatway’s pictures of an apparently xenophobic murder on the front page. Responses have been mixed, with some hailing Oatway’s work for bringing the reality of xenophobia to light, and others saying the pictures should never have been published. Does a picture sometimes say more than a thousand words – and is this ever too much? By GREG MARINOVICH.
The first group of 390 Malawians repatriated after the recent wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa arrived in Malawi on Monday 20th April. According the Malawian Government, another 3200 Malawians are waiting in South Africa to do the same. Two Malawians are confirmed to have been killed in the attacks on foreigners that broke out in townships of Durban and Johannesburg. UNICEF met some of the young people that had made the unplanned journey.
Over the last decade, Ethiopia has emerged as one of the fastest-growing – perhaps THE fastest-growing – economies in Africa. Even though “double-digit” growth has become something of an official mantra, independent appraisals still put it at over 10 percent from 2003-13, double the sub-Saharan average. Growth is driven by a determined government policy of creating the conditions for development, notably through a massive level of infrastructural investment. By CHRISTOPHER CLAPHAM and GREG MILLS.
Finally, there has been significant action taken to end the current xenophobic attacks. The security forces and civil society have been mobilised and the president has prioritised the issue. But beyond raiding hostels, the country will have to continue taking action even after the violence dissipates. By GREG NICOLSON.
Always wanted to visit Robben Island, but can’t afford the trip or live too far away? Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can now experience the island from any internet-connected computer. A new collaboration between Google and the Robben Island Museum has seen the island mapped via Street View, so you can choose between exploring it on your own or taking an interactive tour with a former political prisoner. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) response to the debacle over whether external influence was brought to bear on the selection of the Proteas team that took the field in the Cricket World Cup (CWC) semi-final defeat of New Zealand increasingly resembles the government’s shambolic attempt to deflect responsibility for the landing of a private aeroplane at the Waterkloof Air Force base in 2013. By LAWSON NAIDOO.
It’s been a bad week for the South African police’s top ranks. National Police Commissioner Riah Piyega’s shaky position was exposed when the Parliament committee on police refused to approve her budget. The Western Cape’s top cop Arno Lamoer has been suspended after being charged with 109 counts of corruption and racketeering. And on Tuesday, confirmation – unsurprising, but still troubling – came that Hawks head Anwa Dramat has agreed to resign. By REBECCA DAVIS.
There he was, the president of South Africa, reading the Sunday newspapers and thinking: “This makes us look bad”. The cause of President Jacob Zuma’s consternation was a picture on the front page of the Sunday Times of a man holding a knife menacingly over Mozambican Emmanuel Sithole, who later died of the stab wounds. On Tuesday, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced that the army had been deployed to hotspots affected by attacks on foreign nationals. She too lectured the media about “responsible reporting”. In a twilight zone of “patriotic journalism” that Zuma and members of his Cabinet envisage, would South Africa “look good” even as soldiers patrol the streets to prevent violence? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
On Monday, the Western Cape High Court saw media battle it out against Parliament. At stake: whether Parliament is constitutionally entitled not to show the public scenes of “grave disorder” during sittings of the National Assembly, by interrupting its broadcast feed. Media and freedom of information advocates argue that such interruptions contravene the notion of an “open Parliament”, while the institution maintains that broadcasting such scenes is not in the public interest and undermines the dignity of Parliament. State security, meanwhile, says it can’t rule out the possibility of signal jamming in future. By REBECCA DAVIS.
On Friday, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and Eskom managed to produce what was, for once, a pleasant surprise. Instead of more bad news about board instability, coal silos that are now just heaps of rubble and dire warnings that are then denied, we were told that Brian Molefe had been appointed as acting CEO of the utility/parastatal/fourth horseman of the apocalypse. Considering Molefe’s track record at Transnet, it’s no surprise that the announcement has been welcomed. But, lurking in the shadows, his “promotion” to the worst job in the country opens the door for a dirty little piece of parastatal history to rear its head – as Siyabonga Gama rises to the position of acting CEO of Transnet. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
When violence breaks out, it is our own heart that is ripped by the blade. South Africans, some children, are killed; diplomatic and economic relations are damaged; the economy suffers; attitudes harden; views are polarised; police grow more heavy-handed; and, in the end, living conditions don’t improve. And yet, the anger and violence continues to be misdirected. By ALEX ELISEEV.
In an indication of the fluid political landscape 20 years after democracy, the two newly-elected leaders of the Democratic Alliance in its heartland and stronghold the Western Cape, Patricia de Lille and Bonginkosi Madikizela, are drawn from the PAC (and later the ID) and the ANC (later UDM). DA heir apparent, Mmusi Maimane, also popped in at the provincial congress and was warmly embraced in spite of a tepid speech. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Our society is littered with so many cases of bad governance that it is hard to judge where to start – where cock-up ends and conspiracy begins. Eskom is a good example: what started out as a simple mistake by the ANC government in the late 90s became aggravated by the possible conspiracy of trying to enrich certain politically connected people, which led to the board level in-fighting. The transition from old-style terrestrial television broadcasting, i.e. turning that little tuning knob with your thumb on the VHF and UHF dial to digital full-flat HD broadcasts seems to have gone the same way. It started as a set of simple mistakes. It is now looking a little more ominous. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
It took two weeks of violence, death and severe corrosion of the moral fibre of the country to bring out leadership and hands-on work from government and civil society. President Jacob Zuma will lead a “stakeholder outreach programme” this week (which hopefully means he will go to the hotspots to appeal for a cessation of the xenophobic attacks), part of government’s multi-pronged approach to respond to the explosion of violence. King Goodwill Zwelithini is holding an imbizo and may actually address the issue after pretending that he is the injured party. And the rest of us experienced a strong dose of reality about the state of our nation. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Below you will find a letter written by one of the 11-year olds at the Sacred Heart primary school. We have changed names to protect identities and I encourage you to share the letter with all your contacts. She arrived at her teacher’s classroom this morning and said, “Please will you help me get this out to as many people as possible”. Letter written by DANAI PACHEDU.