COSATU Gauteng statement on the ongoing xenophobic violence

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in Gauteng is shocked but not surprised by violence against foreign nationals in particular Nigerians that started last week after a taxi driver was killed in Pretoria. This violence in our view is perpetuated by the economic challenges in our country and in Africa as well, as the failures by governments to develop economic policies which are capable to grow economies and create jobs. In some instances, the economy grows but does not create the needed jobs.

The Federation in Gauteng has consistently bemoaned lack of direction in relation to government’s intervention in job creation, poor management of undocumented foreign nationals, and drug control in our communities. The government should take full responsibility for the inadequate regulation of the township economy, inadequate regulation of the informal sector and lack of commitment to enforcing labour laws. Many companies are exploiting vulnerable workers by replacing them with cheap foreign nationals if they demand decent wages

This array of issues has created a serious confrontation between foreign nationals and locals since 2011. During the elections campaign the people of Gauteng bemoaned the influx of foreign nationals in their areas and requested that government should urgently act on this before it is too late.

What is happening in Tshwane and Johannesburg is the reflection of the government that is failing to address the fundamental economic challenges of its people as well as providing adequate safety and security for its people. It is a reflection of a state that is collapsing, leaderless and requires urgent intervention or else the people will take the law into their own hands as they are doing today.

The federation is, therefore, calling for all stakeholders to convene as a matter of urgency to resolve this unfortunate deadly confrontation. From our side we will meet with the African Diaspora Forum to try and come with the solutions for the benefit of workers, the citizens of Gauteng and foreign nationals. We are also planning meetings with taxi associations and the alliance to assist to resolve this.

From our point of view, one life lost too many, whether that of foreign brother and sister as well as South Africans. We also call all those who are involved in this heinous actions to restrain themselves before a serious catastrophe overwhelm this province. We further call the law enforcement agencies led by the Community Safety MEC, Faith Mazibuko and the Gauteng Provincial Police Commissioner to provide the necessary security for all, their silent on this is worrying.

We are also calling all political formations, the Premier, Johannesburg and Tshwane mayors to intervene as a matter of urgency. We are requesting all of them to put their political differences aside and work together to quell this violent killing of innocent people.

Issued by Cosatu

Provincial Secretary: Louisa Modikwe at 0661822402

Provincial Chairperson Amos Monyela at 0794935002