Saturday, 9 May 2015

State-sponsored xenophobia?

'Fiela' is a seTswana and seSotho word which means 'to sweep'. I remember a song from Bloemfontein. A song sung in the context of a wedding. It is the women who sing it when the bride is supposed to sweep the house of the in-laws:
Fiela fiela fiela ngwanyana
fiela ngwanyana
o se jele matlakaleng
The meaning is:
Sweep, sweep, sweep, girl
Sweep, girl
Don't eat in a dirty home
South African authorities have launched ‘operation Fiela’. It has nothing to do with weddings. Its purpose is to find criminal elements. More especially criminal elements, who are not South African citizens.

It is rather contradictory. It has been said, that this operation is done to combat xenophobia. But migrants are the target of the operation. Yes, criminal migrants. But still.

The police force is trying to fight a battle on two fronts. They are still dealing with xenophobia and say on their website:
South Africans are encouraged not to make comments that incite violence against foreign nationals. “Our intelligence services continue to monitor cyberspace for comments that incite violence against foreign nationals. People making such comments must know we are coming for them …
But one can also read that:
Operation Fiela, which means “to sweep clean”, continues to enjoy great support from the public who have come forward with information about areas where crime is prevalent.
So far the operation has resulted in 889 arrests country wide. 745 people have been arrested for not having proper documentation, which means they have been in the country illegally.

The Telegraph writes about police raiding the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, which has been, for many years, a sanctuary for refugees. I know that Church authorities have wanted to clear the premises from people living there, because they owe the municipality a lot of money, but so far people have not moved. The question now is if the Church has asked the police to come.
Riot police and soldiers bristling with weapons burst into the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg on Friday at 4am, where an estimated 1,000 foreigners, many of them seeking political asylum from Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, live.
It often happens early in the morning and with more force than necessary. Hence there are also critical voices:
Police raids accused of being ‘state-sponsored xenophobia’
This is what Times Live write.

The Mail and Guardian describes the President as ‘gatvol’ which is Afrikaans and means 'fed-up' and 'upset'. 

At the same time President Zuma sends his envoy, Minister Jeff Radebe, to Burundi, to ask President Nkurunzinza not to stand for a third term in the upcoming presidential elections. According to SABC.

When I listen to the news I understand that these issues belong together. Zuma wants other African leaders to solve improve, so that South Africa don’t getso many refugees.

So, how about Zuma himself? This weekend the DA is electing a new leader after Helen Zille. ENCA reports
34-year-old DA parliamentary Mmusi Maimane and former federal chairperson Wilmot James will battle it out for the position of Democratic Alliance leader.

Both candidates are the first black leaders to run for DA candidacy
Very few write about the gender aspect. Zille has been the opposition leader. Will South Africa go back to an all-male business?

Nevertheless it is probably good news that the DA gets a black leader. I miss Lindiwe Mazibuko, who was the DA group leader in parliament.

She was named South Africas most influential women in 2012. According to SA History Online.

As always, South Africa is an exciting place.

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