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FULL TEXT: NEHAWU CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON FOREIGN NATIONALS IN SOWETO

January 22, 2015 | Uhuruspirit

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South Africa's National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has condemned xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals in Soweto.

It was reported that the attacks on shops owned by foreign nationals were triggered after a shop owner shot the 14-year-old on Monday after he and a group of youngsters attempted to rob his shop. The teenager died on the scene and the injured teen was taken to hospital.

The incident sparked violence in which shops owned by immigrants were looted and streets blockaded.

It was reported that shops owned by foreign nationals were attacked overnight in Emdeni, Zola and Protea Glen.

Twelve people were arrested in Snake Park.

“Five of them, who are foreign nationals, were charged with illegal possession of firearms, seven community members were charged with public violence,” police spokesperson Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said.

The shop owners packed up and loaded their goods on vehicles. Police escorted them out of Snake Park.

In a statement, NEHAWU condemned unwarranted attacks and the looting of shops owned by foreign nationals. The Union has also called on African National Congress and all other Mass Democratic Movement structures in the province of Gauteng to mobilise against this thuggery and political backwardness.

The following is the statement by NEHAWU:

NEHAWU Condemns the Attacks on Foreign Nationals in Soweto

NEHAWU condemns the looting of shops and the killing of foreign nationals in Soweto by some criminal elements, and is calling on the law enforcement agencies to intervene and arrest the perpetrators of these dastardly acts. Our union demands drastic government intervention to snuff out this problem before it becomes a spreading cancer.

We are also calling on the African National Congress and all other Mass Democratic Movement structures in the province of Gauteng to mobilise against this thuggery and political backwardness. South Africa should take lessons from the 2008, shameful xenophobic attacks that were directed at our African brothers and sister residing in our country.

NEHAWU calls on all its members and the branches of the ANC to heed the call by the ANC NEC in its 2015 January 8 rally statement for them to serve as “the leading force to address issues in their communities through the establishment of street committees”. We should all encourage active citizenry that will denounce, fight and oppose such criminality in our communities and unite behind the common goal of fighting poverty, hunger and exploitation.

It is well known that the challenges facing the country, especially the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality affects mostly young people, but we should not allow criminals to exploit the genuine grievances of the people to excuse the looting and hunting down of foreign nationals.

The “us” versus “them” mentality that exists amongst the poor and mostly black Africans in this country points to a sad apartheid legacy of segregation and artificial borders created by colonisers. These disgraceful episodes of xenophobic attacks also point to economic deprivation of the majority of black people and the government’s failure to deal decisively with immigration, integration and the existing economic inequalities.

The immoral capitalist system that has left the majority of the people at the periphery and resulted in the concentration of wealth at the hands of the few is also at the centre of this social instability. Most of these foreign nationals are economic migrants, who have come to this country in search of a better life. This proves true the old adage that, as long as wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few and poverty is for many, there can be no social stability.

NEHAWU calls on the working class to unite and fight together against their exploitation. Our union will continue to work for peace, social progress and social liberation of the working class. We call on all the progressive forces to speak out against this xenophobic criminality and also join the fight for economic emancipation.

Issued by:
NEHAWU Secretariat

For further information, please contact:
Sizwe Pamla, NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer, 082 558 5962
Or, 011 833 2902 or, sizwep@nehawu.org.za

Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za



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