A dialogue in Pretoria has heard that South Africans are not xenophobic but the high unemployment rate in country and competition for resources create opportunities for some people to use xenophobia as an excuse to commit crime.
The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) organised the dialogue to discuss the challenges foreigners face in South Africa.
StatsSA and the United Nations estimate that there are 4 million legal and illegal immigrants in South Africa. Of those only about 800 000 are highly skilled.
The commission’s chairperson Luka Mosoma says the reasons for the recent so-called xenophobic attacks are complex.
“We then generate programs of action, among those programs of action is what we call public engagement and education. That’s one element. But the second element to that is the issue with conflict resolution mechanisms of making sure that communities that are under strife are brought together by negotiating borders, the possibilities of social will in order for people to work together.”