The media and social networks show unsustainable images of African migrants being attacked in South Africa under the pretext that they take the work away from nationals. It will be recalled that just before the general elections held in May 2019, such acts were also perpetrated, which provoked an outraged protest reaction from the African dean of the diplomatic corps to the Republic of South Africa. The regular recurrence of these acts of xenophobia in a country that has enjoyed an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity from other African countries in its liberation struggle continues to raise questions about the nature of the political and civic education provided by the authorities to their fellow citizens.
For its part, the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) denounces these acts, which do not honor the people who commit them and damage the image of South Africa and Africa as a whole. UCLG Africa recalls that the leaders of African local and regional governments meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December 2015 and in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November 2018, adopted a charter of African local and regional governments on migration which unambiguously condemns all acts of xenophobia, discrimination and injustice against migrants, and instead establishes local authorities as protectors of migrant populations whose welcome and integration into local communities is guaranteed by them.
UCLG Africa therefore calls on its members in South Africa to comply with the principles set out in the Charter of Local and Regional Governments of Africa on Migration and to act without delay to protect the rights of migrants living within their jurisdiction and bring to justice the perpetrators of acts of aggression against migrants solely because they are, to formally apologize to the individuals, families and communities affected by such acts, and to consider possible remedies and compensation for their benefit.
UCLG Africa is happy to see that SALGA has taken a clear stand against these abominable acts, showing the resolve of the South Africa Local Government Community not to tolerate these shameful behaviors.
UCLG Africa encourages SALGA and its members in South Africa to engage in immediate and in-depth historical and civic education work targeting residents of their constituencies in collaboration with civil society organisations to create conditions conducive to harmony between migrants and local communities and to living together in peace.
Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi,
Secretary General of UCLG Africa
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Read the charter of African local and regional governments on migration here.