Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Why Xenophobia in South Africa

There is no evidence to support the belief that South Africa’s migrant community is a major cause of crime or unemployment in the country. Indeed, as former president Zuma has acknowledged,
"[many in the migrant community] contribute to the economy of the country positively."
Anti-xenophobia activists need to encourage ordinary people to think like this. Only when South Africans are able to understand the root causes of anti-immigrant violence can the problem be overcome.
A new study by the Human Sciences Research Council canvased the views of ordinary South Africans on what lies behind anti-immigrant sentiments, including violence. Knowing how the public views this important question is vital to understanding which mechanisms would be most acceptable to prevent xenophobic violence.
Overall, 71% of the respondents said that the threat posed by immigrants from outside South Africa was the main reason for the violence. A third of people in the survey attributed violence against immigrants to the fact that foreigners would take jobs away from South Africans and that they were involved in unfair business practices attributed. About a third (30%) of the general public said that the violence was caused by foreigners stealing jobs from hardworking South Africans. 
Almost a third (30%) said that communities were responding to the criminal activities of the migrants. Many people attributed the violence to foreigners’ involvement in drug trafficking.
 The study found that few identified individual prejudice or misinformation about international migrants as primary reasons for the violence.

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