“No human being should be labelled as an illegal immigrant”

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Kopanong Africa Against Xenophobia (KAAX) says it does not believe any human being should be labelled as an illegal immigrant.

The statement follows recent tensions in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, where protestors are calling for law enforcement intervention on issues of foreign nationals.

Several people have been killed in the area including Zimbabwean national Elvis Nyathi who was stoned and set alight by a mob last week accusing him of being in the country illegally.

KAAX’s spokesperson Sharon Ekambaran says, “No human being is illegal. Actually, they are undocumented. Let’s get the terminology correct because it is important, especially in our country where there is still xenophobia. People are undocumented or their documentation is irregular.”

“You have permanent residents in our country, contract miners, tourists, refugees, asylum seekers. That is what dignity is about, when you don’t lump everyone as migrants and it becomes a negative connotation to what is a global phenomenon of movement of human beings,” adds Ekambaran.

[WARNING: Graphic Content] Victims of crime in Diepsloot share their ordeal:

On Saturday, Johannesburg Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse said concerns have been raised by the Diepsloot community around issues of alleviating population density, with some people saying the issuing of housing units has not solved the density problem.

Phalatse said the housing situation, as it is right now, is ripe for criminal activity.

“What I’ve been told is that as much as we’re decanting and trying to de-densify, the shacks don’t get demolished and that some members of those families remain behind, and only certain members go to the new units that we handover. So, it’s not really solving the problem. That is something that we really need to look into because with the current density of the area, crime will be prevalent, and it will be very difficult to control it,” said Phalatse.