Xenophobia is homegrown terrorism
The recent outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa is not longer an isolated incident. It has become institutionalised as a form of homegrown terrorism. These acts of xenophobia have taken a criminal outlook as those that are pregnant with hate find solace from those that use acts of xenophobia as the perfect opportunity for criminal entrepreneurship. For those with criminal intent, they would never allow this crisis to go to waste. What is always surprising is that the security cluster which includes the police, and army are hardly seen managing these protests. It seems maybe the state is afraid to act because of the perennial Marikana hangover. Law and order is one of the hallmarks that ensures that the market succeeds. The past two decades of developmental economics have reflected consistently that it’s non-market based measures that ensure that the markets succeed in ensuring economic growth occurs. South Africa is showing failed state characteristics. South Africa finds itself in a growth trap, and the lack of jobs has meant that the legacy of intergenerational poverty is not reversed, which means that the dream of a better life for all is a dream deferred. As
South Africa is showing failed state characteristics. South Africa finds itself in a growth trap, and the lack of jobs has meant that the legacy of intergenerational poverty is not reversed, which means that the dream of a better life for all is a dream deferred. As the most unequal society in the world, we have done little to restore human dignity. The demand for jobs was the perennial cry of our compatriots that we engaged during the lead up to the 2016 local government elections. The promise of jobs is the most pressing need affecting South Africans, and anyone that has a proven formula for creating jobs must be supported and given the necessary political support. Those of us in the tourism cluster continue to be reduced to the irritation club because we challenge the hegemony of understanding. The xenophobic incidents of 2016 occurred in Durban, which led several SADC countries boycotting the Tourism Indaba, South Africa’s premier tourism exhibition.
The lack of economic progress for the majority of South Africans means that that they can’t reach their objectives. This then forces the state to play an active role in the lives of its citizens, because the jobs that exist are for skills that the majority do not have. Having spent some time in Cameroon, I realised that the advantage of the majority of migrates has more to do with socialisation than any other thing. I saw that in these communities everybody in the household sells, with the dinner table every night dominated by checks and balances on what was sold and what was not. I saw the spirit of entrepreneurship being assimilated by school learners, who immediately after school, you will find in the streets selling an assortment of goods. Everybody sells and this has become a way of life for almost all households and communities. The greatest tragedy of the ANC was not leading a national
The greatest tragedy of the ANC was not leading a national re-consciousness programme for South Africans that had been scarred by the legacy of apartheid. South Africa does not have a national consciousness, and this has meant that government desires such as better race relations and social cohesion remain a figment of our imagination. Because apartheid was a social engineering policy, the democratic state should have run a similar programme to delve into the brains of South Africans and reprogramme them. Many migrants that have made South Africa their home have demonstrated interesting entrepreneurship. The Islamic banking model that many Somalis use has basically wiped out the traditional township spaza shops. What is interesting is that the migrants that seek to enter South Africans as asylum seekers have a golden path, whilst those that seek to enter as tourists with legal documents, we treat them with suspicion.
“Meeting Africa” just ended at the Sandton Convention Centre, an opportunity for South Africa to market its excellent facilities for hosting events, meeting and conventions. The message from the majority of Africans that attended is that it is easier to get a visa to the USA than to get a visa to South Africa. This means that conference organisers will divert conferences to other African countries because our representatives at embassies lack a tourism outlook. Tourism is the number one job creator in the economy, it must be supported. Continued lack of safety and security reduces the tourism competitiveness of South Africa. The lack of confidence in the state is reflected in the daily realities where crime seems to pay as drug dens remain operational with the full knowledge of the police. If we continue to fail to manage our borders, and we allow xenophobia to become the new normal, South Africa will become a failed state.
Unathi Sonwabile Henama is a tourism researcher at the Tshwane University of Technology and writes in his personal capacity.