Xenophobia sparks call for first migration desk in metro

Xenophobic attacks. File picture
Xenophobic attacks. File picture
Image: Daniel Born/TimesLIVE

The Community of African Nations (CANiSA) has called on the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality to establish the city’s first migration desk.

The request was made by CANiSA general secretary Abdul Olatunji at the Eastern Cape legislature’s first dialogue on African nations.

Olatunji said the desk would assist the city in its quest to find out exactly how many foreigners were living in Port Elizabeth and other areas.

Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba said: “As we do away with borders, Africa is redefining itself .

“We may not see it now but one day our children will wake up and most of this will not be here. It’s necessary for us to have these conversations.

“Migration helps us develop a deeper understanding of who we are as a people, the multicultural nature of the society in which we live.

“It helps us realise that there is actually more to being African than what we grew up knowing.

“There are extreme dynamics and if we drew from each other’s energies we would become a richer and better people,” Gigaba said.

He urged the general community to stop killing one another.

Council speaker Buyelwa Mafaya also supported Olatunji’s request.

The dialogue followed rampant violence in Johannesburg, where foreign spaza shop owners accused of selling expired goods were beaten and had their shops looted.

The dialogue was attended by business owners, residents and some of the city’s political leadership, and hosted by legislature deputy speaker Mlibo Qoboshiyane.

He said that being sold expired goods was no grounds to try to kill someone.

“We noted the outbreak of violence in Johannesburg, we saw the xenophobia and the Afrophobia and decided that we would host this dialogue in Nelson Mandela Bay as it is one of the areas that has a large number of businesses owned by foreign nationals,” Qoboshiyane said.