by Usisipho Batyi
In the past few weeks, South African media has caused moral panic on all social platforms in the country. The entire nation is involved in the discourse of xenophobic attacks for which has flooded the nationwide newspapers. This has caused two sides to the controversial discourse inevitably causing a greater divide within the nation and outside African nations.
We see Rhamaposha and other political party leaders taking their stance against what the media claims to be xenophobic attacks. The ANC has been trying to restore South Africa’s image following the latest round of attacks on foreigners leaving 12 people dead, including 10 South Africans.
The mainstream media has named the problem xenophobia when in its actual fact it is vigilantism as the former president Thabo Mbeki stated, two years ago, that this is not xenophobia but a community taking action against criminals. His thoughts are what the majority of South Africans share which is the issue of our corrupt and poorly managed immigration offices (Home Affairs). Our government has no control whatsoever of who comes in our country hence there are so many illegal criminal immigrants in South Africa. The media decided to take up its one-sided story to evoke panic and sensation among South African and outside readers.
For in the recent Gauteng protest a Taxi driver was shot and killed while trying to stop a foreign man from selling drugs to a teenage school learner. This is the issue with our government it is more concerned about the powerful voices within the Internat deliberative discourse on matters pertaining to xenophobia. The media manipulated the story to gain sensation and the government responded to the sensation by means of cleaning their bad name rather than fix the root cause.
Lincoln Dahlberg in his reading speaks of the importance of internet deliberative democracy and how it ensures that the government hears the concerns of its citizens on online platforms. However, it does critic that this type of model favours the powerful voices that are online. This is the exact problem with this xenophobia dilemma is that because of the internet sensation our government is attending the UN and apologizing to African countries in the desperation of saving their economic relationships.
Herman Mashaba states that “They have to apologise to millions of girls who are turned into prostitutes by international drug syndicates”, said Mashaba. Mashaba says African nationals are not solely responsible for the immigration issues in the country.
South African ambassador Ndumiso Ntshinga condemned the xenophobic violence, saying ‘no matter what the grievances, such actions cannot be justified; no matter the frustrations, the loss of even a single life cannot be condoned’. I agree with Ntsinga that the matter needs to be dealt with the right way rather than causing violence but also our government needs to acknowledge the issue before responding to the issue being labelled as xenophobic. For I grew up in the townships and my experience is that as South Africans we are not xenophobic but rather are infuriated by the criminal activities that take place in the hands of all criminals. Hence we always take the law into our own hands because the government protects criminals.