South Africa: Hatred of migrants reaches new heights
South Africa often makes the headlines for violent attacks against immigrants. Xenophobia has now reached a new level with the creation of a group calling itself Put South Africa First.
One of the protest organizers, Nandisa Gschwari, warned that more demonstrations were to come. She told DW that she didn't care if the movement was called xenophobic. "Children are going missing every day, and our government is not doing anything about it. Nigerians are known to be at the top of the list," she said. Without presenting any evidence, the movement alleges that foreign nationals are mainly responsible for crimes ranging from robbery, sex slavery, kidnappings, and human trafficking to the peddling of drugs.
Some of its leaders, like Ike Khumalo, went as far as demanding that immigrants be denied their rights. Khumalo told DW that even those documented should no longer enjoy the same rights as South Africans. "Our constitution should also be amended because our constitution is a problem," he said, insisting that a constitution should be valid for South Africans only.
South Africa has a history of violence against foreigners. Xenophobic attacks left at least 62 people dead in 2008. Seven others were killed in 2015. Violence flared again in September last year when armed mobs attacked foreign-owned businesses in Johannesburg. The clashes left at least 12 people dead.