THE Gauteng government leads the country in helping migrants tackle discrimination and xenophobia as well as in integrating them into local communities, the Africa Diaspora Forum (ADF) said on Wednesday.
“We are happy to work with the premier of Gauteng [David Makhura] who is the only premier out of the eight others, who understands what integration is,” said Marc Gbaffou, chairman of the ADF during celebrations to mark Africa Day.
“Leaders should calm down, get in touch with people and celebrate with them on a day such as this one. Gauteng leaders are there for us they listen and help us address many issues.”
Leadership of the ADF, which represents Africans from other countries, and the provincial government held an event to celebrate Africa Day in Yeoville.
The celebration included a street parade around the Yeoville CBD by the police band, local residents and school children who hoisted flags of African countries. They also had the African Union (AU) flag.
Most of them were clad in African traditional attire as they danced down Raleigh Street, singing along to the sounds by the police band.
Gbaffou said African immigrants who flee from oppressive governments in their countries should not suffer the same abuse when they’re in South Africa.
“Issues such as repossession of properties from immigrants communities to lessen competition and enable South Africans to run and own business is not the way to go.
“Some of the premiers [in other provinces]incite violence against foreign nationals, which is something we do not condone as the ADF.
“As leaders in provinces, they should guide us on how to work together and integrate … because the foreign national communities are a potential for economic growth in this province and the rest of the country.”
Makhura said all African countries should work together and tackle urgent issues such the documentation of foreign national nationals. Africans feel at home and thrive all over the continent, he said.
“The issue of being a legal immigrant is important, and other matters facing refugees. We continue to address these matters together the inter-governmental ministerial team,” said Makhura.
“Of course we are aware that there are criminal activities as discussed with the forum, and we agree with them that those committing crime, such as selling of drugs should not be spared, and must face the full consequences of the law.
“But we must not criminalise all nationalities that are in our province and say all of them commit crime just because a few individuals do so.”
The country has seen a spate of xenophobic attacks in recent times.
In Durban, KwaZulu Natal, hundreds of foreigners were displaced after they were attacked in last April, after Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini reportedly asked government to send foreigners home during a speech at a moral regeneration event in Pongola. – ANA