Adoption of AD HOC committee report on attacks against foreign nationals

25 November 2015

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip welcomes the adoption of the report of the joint ad hoc committee on probing violence against foreign nationals by the National Assembly today. The committee was established in May by both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to investigate incidences of violence against foreign nationals which happened earlier this year in various provinces.

The multiparty committee has since May conducted numerous oversight visits to various provinces, particularly areas considered the hotspot of violence against foreign nations, and interacted with various state institutions, local and foreign business owners, foreign nationals and civil society organisations, amongst others. The committee also received and considered a number of oral and written submissions from various stakeholders regarding the unfortunate events that confronted the nation several months ago. The committee further took into consideration the 2008 parliamentary report on the attacks of foreign nationals to strengthen Parliament's intervention into the matter.

The investigation of the committee confirmed that the violent attacks resulted in the tragic deaths of at least seven people, four foreign nationals and three South Africans. In the view of the committee, the levels of crime, inequality and competition for scarce resources negatively affected both locals and foreign nations. Many foreign nationals seeking asylum in the country were found to be economic migrants. The increasing competition for scarce resources amidst low economic growth, unemployment and lack of skills amongst South Africans is accentuated by the high number of unskilled foreign nationals immigrating into the country. Competition and associated tensions amongst local and foreign small business owners, exploitation of illegal immigrants and violation of labour laws by local companies have been identified as some of the drivers of the violence that took place.

We agree with the committee in its appreciation of the swift interventions such as those from government through the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on migration to arrest the situation and put mechanisms in place to curb future recurrence. Operation Fiela, in particular, has proved to be a tremendous success and must be supported as interventions are being made to address the root socio-economic causes of the violent attacks. The committee has recommended that government at the national and provincial levels, through interventions such as the IMC on migration, must continue to vigilantly monitor, pre-empt and protect the vulnerable communities and maintain peaceful and cohesive co-existence of all nationalities. It is further recommended that government, through departments such as small business development, strengthen its regulation of small businesses and intensify its support of local small businesses. Parliament, through relevant oversight committees, must regularly monitor the implementation of various interventions by national and provincial governments aimed at ensuring the violent attacks do not recur.

The events of May dented our country's image, and we fully support various interventions to ensure that they do not repeat themselves. As the Majority Party in this Parliament, we will ensure that Parliament plays its oversight role to ensure all these critical interventions succeed.

Issued by the office of the ANC Chief Whip

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