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White monopoly of capital driving South African violence: Malema

By Jehron Muhammad | Last updated: Sep 18, 2019 - 10:14:06 AM

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People attend a march against xenophobic attacks in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, April 23. Police officers and soldiers raided a hostel considered a hotspot for anti-immigrant attacks for the second day running in Johannesburg as South Africa continued a crackdown on xenophobic violence.

Xenophobic violence in South Africa has received much publicity. The violence and deaths have resulted in the former White ruled apartheid state “becoming a pariah in Africa,” declared Al Jazeerah. A subhead in the same commentary read, “Recent Afrophobic attacks demonstrate the Rainbow nation is increasingly embracing an exceptionalist identity.”

But one would be highly mistaken to think South Africa’s economic legacy of White minority rule and the social effects of apartheid are not at the root of recent violence against African migrants by South Africans.

The Economist magazine reported that South Africa experienced “anti-foreigner riots in 2008 and 2015,” but argued recent violence shines “a particularly harsh light on the rabble-rousing of South African politicians, some of whom have blamed migrants (instead of their own inept and sufficiently lacking policies) for supposedly taking jobs from locals and committing crimes.”

The recent violence, including looting, targeting foreign-owned businesses and foreign residents in Pretoria and Johannesburg has led, reported the Washington Post, to at least 10 deaths, including two foreigners, and more than 400 arrests.

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF), under the leadership of the former president of the ANC Youth League Julius Malema “in the strongest terms” condemned the violence and looting principally of shops owned by foreign nationals.

EFF says no African is a foreigner on African soil, including South Africa. Malema said, “I am not going to (be) part of stoning my own brother. I am not going to be part of looting. I don’t want to be a president of thugs and criminals, who beat up people.” In addition, he labeled the attacks “barbaric” and apologized to fellow Africans, pleading with them to understand that not all South Africans hate them.

At a recent press briefing, Malema said his party would not be part of violent protests which he said are clearly criminal. He said he would not support such acts as they are going to lead to South Africans turning on each other.

“… when you are done with Nigerians, when you are done with Mozambicans and Zimbabweans and Zambians, you are going to go for Shangaans (members of the Southern Africa Tsonga ethnic group) from Giyani, I have to stop you now before you come for me,” said Malema.

Malema also stated, reported Sowetanlive, allegations foreigners were stealing jobs from locals were misinformed. He blamed Whites for creating animosity among Black people, which he said has led to the unrest.

“There is no one who takes a job from South Africans, no one. They (foreigners) are being offered jobs, they don’t take (them). The owners of means of production are White people. When you say private sector, it’s a polite way of saying White people,” said Malema.

“There is no government that employs foreign nationals, it is the private sector, simply put it is White people who prefer foreign nationals over South Africans and after employing foreign nationals they come to you and say, ‘don’t you think these borders are being let loose? It has led to foreigners taking jobs and as a result South Africans don’t have jobs,’ that’s what they say.”

He observed that Whites employ foreign nationals at their restaurants, farms, retail and hospitality sectors. Malema called this is a way of planting “self hate” in indigenous South Africans.

“And because we’re unemployed, and because we’ve got government with no solutions to (the) crisis of poverty and (the) widening gap between the rich and the poor, we begin to start believing like that,” he said. “So the private sector, the White monopoly capital, must take full responsibility for this mess we are faced with.”

The host of Comedy Central’s popular Daily Show, Trevor Noah, applauded EFF leader Malema’s “perfect” views on xenophobic attacks.

The South African-born comedian took to Twitter to agree with Malema’s views on xenophobic violence and looting delivered at a press conference. “I don’t always agree with Julius Malema but this statement on xenophobic attacks in SA is perfect,” Noah tweeted.

According to, “For the past several decades, inequality has been on the rise in developed and developing countries alike. But in an age of widening divides between rich and poor, South Africa stands out because of its squandered hopes. (Nelson) Mandela’s rainbow nation was supposed to show the world how a new, equitable society could be built out of the ashes of repression and racism. But by some measures, inequality in the country today is worse than it was under apartheid.”

Fifty-year-old Elizabeth Gqoboka is a case in point. She has been living in a second-floor apartment in an old nurses’ home in Cape Town for nearly three years. Gqoboka says it’s over 25 years since the end of apartheid, but she is unable to shake the persistent feeling that she isn’t welcome in the city. She says she is tired of the fact that when she walks down the street Whites that see her assume she is there either to clean houses or to steal from them, Time reported. “It’s like we are good enough to take care of White people’s children but we aren’t good enough to live next door to them.” This is in a country where 79 percent of the population is Black.

A study, published by the national data agency Statistics South Africa, and titled, “Poverty trends in South Africa: An examination of absolute poverty between 2006 and 2015,” revealed a startling increase in poverty rates for post-apartheid Black South Africa.

Black youth, noted the study, find themselves trapped in poverty from birth, with 43.5 percent under the age of 17 living in house-holds that earn below the median income of $60 per month.

A major concern that is widely discussed is the government’s inability to “implement” its own policies. The launch in 2012 of the “National Development Plan” with much fanfare, but little “political will,” as reported in Quartz Africa, “left the plan adrift.” The government’s goals, including a plan to reduce poverty from 39 percent in 2009 to zero percent by 2030 and eliminate hunger, is nowhere near being implemented.

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