An open letter to the President of the Republic of South Africa

HE Cyril Ramaphosa
President of the Republic of South Africa
Union Buildings
Private Bag X1000,

• Commissioner Angie Makwetla, The Commissioner responsible for the rights of Children and
Migrants, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)
• UN Agencies in charge of Migrants & Refugees (UNHCR; IOM)

Ref: Escalating of Xenophobia tendencies

Your Excellency,

Warm greetings from Cape Town!

On behalf of Africa Unite Youth, we are writing to your Excellency, concerning the escalating of
xenophobic tendencies in South Africa.
Since the dawn of the Covid 19 pandemic, we have watched employment rates decrease further, with
36% of the population being unemployed, and 65% of youth (15-24) not having any form of
employment. There is a misconception that migrants are ‘stealing’ jobs that would otherwise go to
citizens. Instead, Mobs have targeted foreign nationals within their homes and businesses. As a result,
it has become normal to hear about looting and causing harm to foreign national-owned shops and

Mr. President, this kind of violence is not new. For example, last year foreign traders were removed in
KwaZulu Natal flea markets by Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). More recently the harassment of street
traders in Johannesburg from Operation Dudula. Despite this perception, most of the migrant
employment remains unstable and precarious, with most not having access to benefits or formal work
contracts. Similarly, the common rhetoric of ‘illegal migrants’ used by opportunist political parties to gain votes further drives attitudes that these individuals are unwanted. No scientific research has proved
that removing foreign nationals from their informal trades and spaza shops will create jobs for South

We have been sadly witnessing campaigns such as Operation Dudula; Considering all foreign nationals
illegal; Employment inspection and humiliation of the hospitality industry’s staff by non-government
officials; South Africa’s first campaign including those on social media. We are worried that all these
will likely cause negative reputational damage for the state.

We would like to welcome your leadership in calling those who are instigating these negative calls to
refrain from them and applaud your recent call From the Desk of the President of 07 February 2022
where you acknowledged the APRM’s assessment that found that government should take seriously
the incidents of xenophobia and you promised that government is taking these recommendations on
board and exploring possible solutions.

As the whole country and the international community are expecting with enthusiasm your SONA this
coming Thursday, we, therefore, propose your Excellency, Mr. President to please use this Platform to
condemn and rebuke the perpetrators of these negative campaigns.

We look forward to your favourable response to our request.

Yours Faithfully,

Zukelwa Dladla (Miss)

Africa Unite Human rights Peer Educator/
Singamakhalipha (Children Program) Coordinator
IDASA Building
6 Spin Street
Cape Town, 8001
Tel: 021 4616551/ 083 9588133

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