Mashaba must resign: March failure shows majority reject xenophobia

For immediate use

Issued by: Coalition of Civics Against Xenophobia

The very low turnout at today’s xenophobic anti-foreigner march in Tshwane confirms that the overwhelming majority of South Africans cannot be seduced by messages of division and hate. This is after weeks and weeks of mobilisation efforts by the organisers. Despite playing on the very real and relentless poverty and unemployment that our communities face, and the daily blight of drugs and crime that weighs upon us, it is clear that the Mamelodi Concerned Residents have failed and their message has been rejected.

Indeed, the violence and looting that has accompanied the march shows that xenophobia itself is the number one excuse for criminality on the streets of Tshwane today. The march has incited what its organisers claim to reject. But first amongst those who must take responsibility for the xenophobic violence and looting of the past two weeks is Johannesburg’s DA mayor, Herman Mashaba. His public statements against “illegal foreigners”, demanding they “leave his city”, played a direct role in inciting the violence and emboldening peripheral groups like the Mamelodi Concerned Residents. He has wrecked lives. We demand the resignation of this divisive politician and will be pursuing every all means to hold him accountable.

We now face the urgent task of finding REAL SOLUTIONS to the burning issues of crime, poverty and unemployment. Only the organised unity of local- and foreign-born residents can achieve this. As a first step toward addressing these issues, the Coalition of Civics Against Xenophobia is calling for a march to unite in action all those communities, organisations and individuals sick of the social problems that we face. We will call for unity and action under the clear slogan: UNITY AGAINST CRIME, POVERTY AND XENOPHOBIA.

It has proved impossible to secure police permission to march on the previously advertised date of Tuesday 28 Feb given the short time frame. Discussions with the police are underway and a date will be announced by the end of next week.)

For further interview, comment or info please contact CCAX convenor Mametlwe Sebei on 081 368 0706.