The rest of the continent is watching, SA

Screengrab of a video showing foreign nationals attacking police in the Johannesburg CBD, 2 August 2019.

Screengrab of a video showing foreign nationals attacking police in the Johannesburg CBD, 2 August 2019.

Why do the targets of these raids appear to be only of African origin? One hardly ever hears of Chinatown being raided for counterfeit goods.

The streets of Johannesburg resembled a war zone on Thursday following the police raids of shops in the city centre. The raids are apparently part of Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s O Kae Molao (loosely translated to “where is the law?”) campaign aimed at enforcing by-laws. Shop owners who felt hard done by banded together and fought back, in some cases pelting law enforcement officers with stones, driving them back. Within a short space of time the narrative in the media had changed to “foreigners are attacking the police”. These were no longer just shop owners fighting to hang on to their goods, they were undocumented illegals simply taking on the men and women in blue. And that allowed the xenophobia choir to start singing: “they must just go back home.” SA is at risk of becoming a pariah state with the rest of the continent. In this age of social media, all it takes is a few images of police firing rubber bullets at a crowd of “foreigners” to have that trending as “SA authorities killing foreigners” in the rest of the continent. Does this mean Makhura and the authorities must not enforce bylaws for fear of backlash from other...


 


 


 

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