I have been living in South Africa since 2006.
I got a job while I was still in Zimbabwe.
During the 12 years I have been here, there have been massive changes. Official Unemployment in South Africa has now passed 32%
In 2008, Zimbabwe fleeing violence flocked to South Africa. Suddenly, you could hear Shona being spoken everywhere you go. At our church, they had to put out extra chairs to accommodate Zimbabweans.
In Durban, Zimbabweans started livibg at the Beach. You would see them bathing under the beach showers early in the mornings.
At night, some would sleep in large rooms as groups, zvi bharumu.
In Braamfontein, Johannesburg, Zimbabweans were taken in at the Methodist church, living as refugees.
The area around the Johannesburg high court became a health hazard and a danger. Zimbabwean women openly started prospecting.
In 2007, the first attacks on foreign nationals occurred. It was widely reported. Then again in 2009.
Since then, it has been an ongoing occurrence. Every week, an angry community in South Africa will somehow end up burning or looting foreign businesses.
This is especially prevalent in poor communities.
At first, South African celebrities came out and tried to speak up against these attacks. However, as time went on every one just realised that this is the way things are. South African Society is openly against foreign nationals from other countries.
Public officials in the ANC are even part of it, Traditional leaders, opposition politicians like the Mayor of Johannesburg and even the Current president of South Africa has made inflammatory statements about foreign business owners.
There are two key natratives:
– Africans can not run business in South Africa
– Africans must go back to their own countries
What is driving this animosity
– Hospitals, Schools, Universities, Schools are all full of Africans looking for services
– Criminal activity is often blamed on Africans especially illegal substances
– Africans have taken over certain areas for example Hillbrow in Johannesburg
Why the sudden escalation
The South Economy is in crisis. The economy is shrinking fast. The ANC has in the recent passed considered declaring retrenchmenta a national emergency.
Many South Africans can simply not get a job.
The SA government has recently increased the VAT rate and have not increased the tax bands on income tax. All this has been to no avail.
Household indebtedness is at all time high. People are not buying and the economy is not growing.
The service sector is most affected : Standard Bank, Multichoice, Massmart, Cell C, Mines, Absa, have recently laid off thousands of employees. Many other smaller businesses are closing especially in the car motor industry.
This has increased demand for low level jobs. Jobs in the retail, transport and even domestic work is now suddenly more appealing for locals.
Skilled South Africans and Millionaires are immigrating in large numbers. Investors are thinking twice about putting their money in South Africa as instability increases.
Corruption and misgovernance has destroyed massive SOEs like Eskom, Transnet, Eskom and SAA rendering many employees jobless.
There is no way back from here. The South African Economy can just not take any more Africans. The ANC government will soon be forced to deal with immigration at a policy level.
Their hand off approach in Zimbabwe will soon end. If they don’t do so, the EFF and the DA will be the biggest beneficiaries.
What you are seeing now are just signs of a bigger underlying problem that can not be wished away.