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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
South Africa targets unethical businesses
that employ illegal immigrants

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa will target unethical businesses that employ illegal immigrants as a new tactic to deal with xenophobic violence, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.

“In many cases business incentivizes irregular migration, and those contributing to questionable labor practices must be held to account,” Gigaba said at a press briefing in Cape Town.

It is far easier and convenient for some to target desperate and vulnerable migrants than the unscrupulous employers who deliberately fuel tensions in the labour market, the minister explained.

He was speaking after a new wave of xenophobic violence erupted in parts of the country as a result of growing disgruntlement among local residents over foreign nationals who are blamed for taking up employment that should otherwise belong to locals.

The government is working with business on these issues, to ensure compliance, employment of locals and harmonious relationships desired for development, economic growth and empowerment of citizens, Gigaba said.

Business is a critical partner in managing anti-immigrant sentiments and more will be expected of them, he said.

“We have a commitment of the hospitality sector on the need to comply with South Africa’s labor and immigration laws, especially the requirement to employ a minimum 60 percent of local people. This is the message we are taking to the rest of business, and will feature strongly in our upcoming meetings,” said Gigaba.

He said there will be workplace inspections and penalties for employing undocumented foreigners will be imposed.

Law enforcement agencies have intensified a crackdown on illegal immigrants, arresting a total of 63 people who were employed by the Spar supermarkets across the country without documentation.

Xenophobic violence is not new in South Africa. The country first experienced xenophobic violence in 2008, with attacks on foreign nationals mainly in Gauteng and the Western Cape provinces.

In 2015, another wave of attacks was seen in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. It was sparked by a labor dispute over the employment of foreign nationals at a store in Isipingo near Durban.

Currently, in 2017, there are renewed incidents of violence against foreign nationals in Rosettenville and Pretoria West, both in Gauteng.

There are also communities agitating against foreign nationals, Gigaba said.

In this regard, a protest march is planned for Friday in the Pretoria CBD. Disgruntlement raised by communities is around competition for jobs, access to economic opportunities and alleged criminal activities involving foreign nationals, including drug peddling and prostitution.

“We have directed all security officials to be visible in communities and to objectively deal with criminality, regardless of whether it is committed by a South African or a foreign national,” Gigaba said.

While calling for compliance with the Constitution and other laws of the Republic, by citizens and foreign nationals, the government prioritizes documentation of persons in South Africa, and deportation of those who are undocumented, Gigaba noted.

He, however, rejected any insinuation or assertion seeking to cast South Africans as mere xenophobes.

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UPDATE:

Zambia warns citizens over South Africa xenophobic attacks

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambian authorities on Thursday issued a warning to citizens intending to travel or residing in South Africa to exercise caution in the wake of attacks on foreign nationals.

The country’s embassy in South Africa issued a statement following attacks that have targeted foreign nationals, especially Africans. 

Over the weekend, 30 shops belonging to foreigners were looted and burnt down in a Pretoria township.

“Zambians who travel to or reside in South Africa are urged to register with the Zambia High Commission to make it easier for the Mission to contact them in case of emergency,” a statement issued by the embassy said.

“We would, therefore, wish to advise Zambians in South Africa to pay close attention to their personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible risk areas,” it added.

While acknowledging that no Zambians have been attacked yet, the statement added that the embassy has received numerous calls from citizens expressing anxiety and fear for their safety.

             

 

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