Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa



Nehawu joins all progressive minded South Africans and ordinary people in expressing their disgust at the current attacks against African brothers and sisters from the North.  What is happening in Alexandra is completely unjustifiable, immoral and short sighted.


More than 40% of South Africans are unemployed.  With the rise of food prices, petrol and the unending waiting list for RDP houses, more and more South Africans, particularly the working poor, are getting frustrated and angry.  Given this anger and frustration it is easy for both legal and illegal immigrants to be used as scapegoats to explain some of the problems in our local communities.  What’s happening in Alexandra, previously happened in Attredgville, Khayaletsha and some of the Eastern Cape Townships.  Attacks on immigrants reflect the frustration and misdirected anger we have referred to.


South African liberation is primarily a product of struggles led by South Africans to liberate themselves from the Apartheid system.  However, international solidarity is one central pillar in our victory against Apartheid.  Cubans flew 1000s of kilometers from their home to contribute to the liberation of Namibia and South Africa.  They contributed to defending Angola and Mozambique.

Chris Hani stayed in Lesotho at some point during struggle against Apartheid.  ANC Head quarters and Umkhonto We Sizwe camps were in Tanzania, Zambia and Angola.  Many cadres stayed and studied in almost all African countries, particularly in the Southern African Countries.

In a nutshell, the victory of South African liberation is owed to Cubans, Namibians Zimbabweans, Angolans, people from Lesotho, and other Africans.  Therefore there is no way we can justify the current attacks of other Africans.

As we speak today we have more than 100 Cuban doctors working in South African rural areas where South African doctors are unwilling to serve.  We have hundreds of South Africa students studying in Cuba.

We call on ANC Alliance and all democratic forces in Alexandra and other affected communities to go on a massive visible and urgent campaign to educate our people that their misery is in part caused by capitalism, the impact of neo-liberal GEAR and the growing inequalities in society — not Africans from the north.  Our people must be made to understand sacrifices Cubans and other Africans made to our liberation.  We unreservedly apologies to the victims of these xenophobic attacks and for the pain and damaged caused to their lives.

This statement was issued by the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) Communications Department on 15 May 2008.  For further information, please contact Priscilla Khumalo (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 558 5973 or email <Priscilla@nehawu.org.za>.  Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za.

| Print