By Leopold Munhende
THERE are fears that growing discontentment in South Africa over the controversial election of ANC’s Jolidee Matongo, who is originally a Zimbabwean, as Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, could degenerate into xenophobic attacks.
Matongo is son to a Zimbabwean immigrant and a South African woman.
Already outspoken critic Advocate Ike Khumalo who was recently arrested on six counts of inciting public violence at a time South Africa experienced massive looting and vandalism by protestors declared they will not recognise Matongo.
Matongo revealed his heritage Tuesday upon accepting nomination for the top post to replace Geoff Makhubo, who succumbed to Covid-19 complications in June.
He was voted into office unanimously.
However, speaking on South African broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, Khumalo said foreigners must go back to their countries and since then the campaign against Matongo has been trending on social media.
“I blame officials, I blame foreign nationals, when they were free in their own countries in the 60s what were they doing not building,” said Khumalo.
“They did not build roads, they come here and tell us we are lazy over things that we built during apartheid. Some of us lost our youth fighting in the streets. When Oliver Tambo said make this country ungovernable in the 80s, we did not mean to liberate this country so that foreign nationals to come over and take this country. People must go back if they are not so lazy, go back and build their countries,” he said.
“We should not be misled by the Geneva Convention, Israel is preaching liberalism but there are big borders protecting the country, Europe has Brexit and you have Donald Trump building walls.”
Khumalo added countries with people enjoying public services in South Africa should be made to pay.
“Most of the time when you open borders you do not attract the people you thought you will attract. In 1990 we thought we people were going to come with special skills, little did we know that we would have beggars, grandmas. South Africans can beg as much as they want but people cannot come here to beg in our cities. They cannot access health care services, they should have built theirs, I cannot go to America because I want to access what their taxpayers have paid for. Their countries must pay for this access,” he said.
A 2018 Pew Research Centre investigation into public views on foreign nationals revealed 62 percent of South Africans believed they were a burden on society through taking jobs and congesting social services.
Targeting mostly Zimbabweans, Nigerians, Congolese and Mozambicans, past incidents resulted in over a hundred people losing their lives and livelihoods.