Mashaba’s olive branch

Joburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba and the Nigerian Consulate in South Africa – headed by Nigerian Consul-General, Godwin Adama – met on 7 March, with discussions around the recent spate of xenophobic attacks in parts of Joburg top of the agenda.

“We stressed the importance of working in collaboration to address the problem of xenophobia and prevent attacks such as those we have seen in the past,” Mashaba said, following the discussions.

“We agreed that we all want to live in a peaceful society where the rule of law is respected and upheld.” He added that the Nigerian Consulate, like the current Joburg administration, strongly denounces all acts of criminality. Following the meeting on 7 March, Mashaba has committed that the administration will work towards establishing a special committee which will advance the vision of an inclusive and peaceful Joburg society.

“We will be exploring ways to enhance our Migrant Help Desk to assist migrant communities to integrate into our society, as well as advancing public awareness against xenophobia in all its forms. Further, I am in the process of inviting all leaders from the diplomatic corps across the continent to a joint meeting.

“I will take this opportunity to express the City of Joburg’s position on migration, and work together to address xenophobia. Johannesburg is made of many diverse communities. Indeed, it is a City built by migrants from across the world,” Mashaba iterated.

Read: City Power welcomes Mashaba’s investigation

In addition to working with the Nigerian consulate, the mayor extended an invite to the Department of Home Affairs in an attempt to fast-track the fight against acts of criminality.

“I am, on record, imploring the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, to work together with this administration to find solutions to our challenges. This is in line with the spirit of co-operative governance espoused within the Constitution. My invitations and letters have been declined and ignored by the Minister.

“Let us not be fooled, xenophobia is a deep rooted and long standing problem in society. The national government must finally acknowledge its role in creating this problem; it has failed to address South Africa’s high unemployment and crime rate. Tragically, our foreign brothers and sisters have been used misguidedly as scapegoats.”

Mashaba ended by stating that government needs to be more proactive if the issue of xenophobia is to be resolved. He stated, “It is essential that those of us in government act to find lasting solutions to the problem of xenophobia by being responsive and caring to all our residents.”

Post your thoughts on how xenophobia has changed your perceptions of the country we live on the City Buzz Facebook page.

Tshepiso Mametela

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