Belgium (Brussels Morning newspaper) Two months ago, South Africa started to experience the rise of the anti-migrant movement “Operation Dudula”. The organization claims that legal and illegal migrants “are the burden of the economy” and a curse of other social issues in South Africa. These claims include accusations of drug distribution, occupation of high positions only by representatives of a different nationality, and money laundry. The organization is arranging protests, as well as attacks on the migrants, forcing them to leave their houses and, in some cases, to leave South Africa. Even the police are unable to take any action against “Operation Dudula”, which makes non-members of the organization scared for their lives.
The organization was set up after the 2021 civil unrest in the country, which began with the imprisonment of President Jacom Zuma for disobedience to the court (he was accused of corruption, fraud, and money laundering as well). Protests, which were led by the anti-Zuma majority, resulted in huge rioting and looting, caused by long-time economic disproportion, consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and government corruption. Racial tensions started to appear between black and non-black communities in different parts of the country. Indians were the first to experience attacks from the black majority. In Phoenix, some of the residents were fighting looters by themselves due to the absence of police forces in the area. Killings of Indian minorities took place as well. The problem was so enormous that even the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs raised the issue of the safety of people of Indian origin in South Africa.
After the protests, South Africa was devastated. Destructions of private properties, shortages of food, fuel, medical supplies, and bankruptcies occurred across the state. More than 200 malls have been looted or destroyed and over 600 stores burnt or damaged. Moreover, Eskom, the main energy company in the country, suffered a breakdown. The steps were taken to clean up the consequences of the protests, such as investigations, reparation of the destroyed properties, and renewal of food and medical supplies. However, it didn’t resolve questions of corruption, government incompetence, economic struggles, and the rise of xenophobia. The unemployment rate after 2021 was 31-35%, and blackouts are an everyday occurrence- it is no surprise that anti-migrant organization is so popular among citizens of South Africa. Internal segregation was always a problem there, and now it is a scapegoat.
The main curse of South Africa is the poor political decision taken by the African National Congress- South Africa’s governing party. Nationalization of key industries like Eskom company (energy industry), strict labor regulations, and expropriation of land without compensation- are only a small part of ANC wrongdoing. At the same time, not taking appropriate action in another sphere of citizens’ lives, such as, for instance, fighting high levels of crime is causing the main problems in today’s life in South Africa. Unreserved crime is a huge struggle for businesses and a threat to foreign direct investment, which at the same time is bringing social unrest and untrust in the government. Even though, we should remember that xenophobia is coming from enormous inequality in South Africa and lack of good education and opportunities for the future generation. Consequently, till at least half of these problems won’t be solved, South Africa will be going deeper and deeper into internal crisis.
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