SAPRA condemns xenophobia

In the aftermath of the attacks on foreign nationals residing in South Africa, we at SAPRA, condemn the violence, discrimination and prejudice stemming from xenophobia.

After years of campaigning against brutally violent witch-hunts in South Africa, we have come to recognize that the same fears and hatred that fuel frequent injustices against our fellow citizens in cases of wiccaphobia, also manifest all too frequently against our collective neighbours through instances of homophobia or xenophobia. The extreme cruelty and indignity that human beings suffer as a result of such prejudice is inexcusable, irrespective of the motivation.

The ANC Freedom Charter, as adopted at the Congress of the People, Kliptown, on 26 June 1955, states: “All people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions.”

In the February 1997 Preamble to the Constitution of South Africa it states: “We, the People of South Africa, Recognize the injustices of the past; Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country, and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”

Chapter 2 of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights confirms in no uncertain terms that everyone has the right to life, and that no-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life.

It has become quite clear that South Africans and the officials (whether King or democratically elected representatives of the people) who govern our beautiful country should be encouraged to re-read the Freedom Charter and The Bill of Rights again, as it seems that these cornerstones of our democracy have been lost in prejudice and injustice as a direct result of xenophobic intimidation and violence.

We urge this government to condemn xenophobia and violence and to act without delay to protect those experiencing intimidation and violence because of their country of origin.

SAPRA / 17 April 2015