Much has been said about illegal immigrants and operation Dudula in the wake of Elvis Nyathi’s death.
Elvis Nyathi was a Zimbabwean who was said to be an illegal resident in South Africa he was brutally murdered in one of the Dudula raids.
And so, I was invited to take part on a live-broadcast on Facebook discussing the current tension between South African and Zimbabweans with regards ‘xenophobia’ and illegal immigrants by my brother Maynard Manyowa and I shared my views and sentiments on the issue and I have decided to follow it up with an article that sums up my views on the matter.
The way I see it South Africans have a legitimate concern with regards the porous borders and the influx of illegal immigrants and the rising crime in their communities and country at large.
I must hasten to say that South Africa has been generally a good host to many Zimbabweans legal or illegal, but some Zimbabweans have not really been good guests.
Some Zimbabweans have violated and disrespected South Africans. They have labelled them as lazy and stupid and many other things. Now that’s not how to treat your hosts.
There is a very worrisome thing about how Zimbabweans always play victim and tend to shift blame and never take ownership of their wrongs. (I am in no way condoning the killing of Elvis Nyathi) it was wrong it was criminal and could have been avoided.
What I find ironic is that Mr Elvis Nyathi was given a state assisted funeral, I find it ironic because wouldn’t it have been better if he got state assistance to survive in Zimbabwe, to live his life in his country and not feel the need to go to South Africa in the first place?
We must be honest with ourselves as Zimbabweans and ask ourselves what is it that is driving us into foreign lands, why are we scattered into the diasporas?
If we are sincere with ourselves, we will place that blame squarely on our government because it has failed to provide a conducive environment for us to peacefully and productively in our own nation.
Allow me to explain the way I view the situation we find ourselves in with regards the xenophobia crisis in South Africa by way of an analogy.
Say, you are a child in an abusive household your very own father is extremely abusive to you and your 6 siblings. You and 2 of your siblings decided to run away from home and seek refuge at your uncle’s house across the river.
Your uncle across the river lives with his wife and 4 children of his own and he accommodates you and his children welcome you into their home.
Your uncle now has 7 children to provide for and he adjusts his budget to suit and make provisions for 7 children that are now under his care.
Then you invite 3 more of your siblings into your uncle’s home without the knowledge of your uncle of his children.
Your 3 other siblings come into the house through the back window, and they start consuming the provisions that your uncle has made for 7 that he knows are under his care. Your uncle’s 4 children now complain that there is a scarcity of provisions then they find out there are 3 other cousins that got into the house nicodemously. The make complains to their father to no avail and then your uncle’s wife speaks up against the 3 who came into their house via the back window and your uncle’s kids take action to remove their 3 cousins from the house.
But you and your other 2 siblings cry foul and say you cannot expel our 3 siblings because that’s xenophobic you protest you demand that your uncle divorces his wife.
This is exactly what Zimbabweans are doing in South Africa demanding that the South African Home Affairs Minister Dr Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi be fired because of how he is handling illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe.
We seriously must pause for a moment as Zimbabweans and think about what the source of our problem is.
We cannot continue to disrespect South Africans and abuse the hospitality they have afforded us.
Border jumping is a crime, overstaying in a foreign country is illegal. For how long will we protect and perpetuate criminality and apportion blame and shift responsibility of the wrongs of our own government?
We must desist from the ostrich mentality of hiding our heads in the sand. South Africans have legitimate concerns about crimes committed by our brothers and sisters from Zimbabwe who are in their country illegally.
They have genuine concerns about how illegal immigrants drive down wages in the already flooded jobs market.
They have issues with the scramble for resource and all the ills that come with illegal immigrants.
They perhaps feel let down by their government which has not pushed to dialogue with the Zimbabwean government at government-to-government-level to resolve this crisis.
And perhaps they are weary of waiting for the government to act hence they have taken it into their own hands to push out illegal immigrants (Dudula).