NEHAWU condemns recent xenophobic attacks in Gauteng

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] condemns the xenophobic attacks that has erupted across the Gauteng Province on yesterday morning. The violence has resulted in the closure of many businesses and schools which has adversely affected working class families and school children.

As NEHAWU, we are concerned about the unfolding criminal unrest targeting foreign owned properties and looting of goods. The national union joins millions of South Africans across the length and breadth of our country in condemning with strongest terms possible the act of xenophobic attacks. In this regard, we must remind each other that the attainment of our democratic breakthrough in 1994 came as a result of the huge sacrifices of many of our African brothers and sisters. It is against this background that we call on all South Africans to discourage, desist and proactively prohibit these evil actions.

We call upon law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned so that those implicated can face the full might of the law and get heavy sentence as a strong signal to other potential perpetrators. Moreover, we demand an immediate deployment of the intelligence services and an urgent investigation for prosecution of the criminal gangs operating in the province and everywhere else.

We find it abhorrent that the South African Police Services [SAPS] has been reduced to bystanders while criminal elements are running amok. Police have reduced themselves to just issuing advisories to the public and not doing anything tangible to arrest the situation. We condemn their inactivity and inability to provide protection. In this regard, we call for the top brass of the SAPS to face consequences for their gross incompetence. The police have a duty to make conditions for businesses to operate and schools to continue with education – rather than the police merely focusing on telling people to close businesses and stay at home.

As NEHAWU, we will mobilise other components of the Mass Democratic Movement [MDM] structures to work day and night in ensuring that these evil actions stop immediately. In this regard, we will lobby the South African Communist Party [SACP] and the Congress of South African Trade Union [COSATU] to lead a broad social campaign against xenophobia and crime. We call on all political leaders to stop unconsciously using xenophobia-fuelling language or words such as “war”, “cleaning” the city, etc. The mayor of Johannesburg must also be condemn for this relentless xenophobic rhetoric which perpetuates the already dire situation.

The national union believes that we need decisive action against unregulated street hawking, illegal imports by syndicates of thuggery moguls. We need to gallantly fight corruption at the points of entry amongst staff deployed there and move towards insourcing all forms of security at the ports of entry. Furthermore, we need to ensure that asylum seekers are allowed and protected inside the country. Migrants must be given proper chances to apply if they meet the relevant requirements for work permits.

It is also important to make our people aware that capitalism is the enemy and that our fight must be direct against that evil system so that we can install socialism as an alternative to ease our living conditions for the better.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Zola Saphetha [General Secretary] at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso [Deputy General Secretary] at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba [NEHAWU National Spokesperson] at 082 455 2500 or email: