SA opposition plays xenophobic card for votes


Herman Mashaba's Beitbridge tour of xenophobic shame

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOME opposition parties are stoking xenophobic flames as South Africa heads for watershed elections in 2024.

They are positioning themselves to votes from gullible South Africans who believe foreign nationals are to blame for the country’s economic problems.

ActionSA has been denounced as one such party, and is led by the former Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, who has long been condemned for anti-migrant sentiments.

On Monday, Mashaba blamed the bigger opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for the country’s porous and dysfunctional borders.

EFF is advocating for a borderless Africa.

Mashaba made the allegations after a so-called ‘oversight visit’ to the Beitbridge Border Post between South Africa and northern neighbour, Zimbabwe. It is the busiest border in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“I’ve often said that South Africa was built on the back of immigrants, but when they come here they should do so legally and adhere to our laws,” the ActionSA leader said.

He was criticized for the sentiments.

Melanie Masiteng accused Mashaba of politicking and desperation for votes.

“What else is in your (election) manifesto that can drive the economy?” she quipped.

Ironically, businessman Mashaba is said to have Mozambican roots.

“Imagine a Mozambican doing oversight of the South African border, in what capacity,” queried Guyanese Bway.

Bongani Mcdonald, lashed at Mashaba, “You should have gone to the Mozambican border closer to your roots.”

Pule Sebola asserted, “It’s just a political tour. You’re not a public representative. The only oversight you can do is at your house.”

ActionSA is among a number of opposition parties that analysts say seek to depose the ruling African National Congress (ANC, in power since independence in 1994) through the xenophobic card.

The parties, including Build One South Africa (BOSA) and Patriotic Alliance (PA), are accused of riding on anti-migrant wave at the expense of sound economic policies.

EFF has been hailed as an exception because of its policy to redistribute the wealth and resources among the black majority.

South Africa heads for elections on the back of deepening poverty, rising unemployment, rampant crime, corruption, load shedding (power scarcity) and most recently, revelations of currency manipulation by banks.

The country suffers intermittent xenophobic violence. The worst episode left more than 60 people dead in 2008.

– CAJ News

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