Over the past decade South Africa has seen wave after wave of xenophobic attacks aimed at foreign nationals from other African countries who own stores in South Africa. More often than not, South Africans are also employed in these stores yet some of our people have frequently attacked our brothers and sisters and accused them of “stealing our jobs” when some have actually done the opposite by providing employment in their stores. All across our country, our brothers from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Zambia and other countries are providing products and services for us South Africans (e.g. spaza shops and hair salons) that we have failed to develop as a result of our Apartheid history, as well as government's failure to assist and equip South Africans to be self-sufficient and entrepreneurial post Apartheid.
Instead of admitting our own shortcomings and seeking tangible ways of developing ourselves, some South Africans have unfortunately resorted to looting stores owned by foreign nationals and accusing them of criminality. This has consequently threatened the livelihood of many foreign nationals in a country where they sought for refuge and new beginnings but have instead been met by constant intimidation, accusation and violence.
It is quite true that not all foreign nationals have acted in the best interest of South Africa and its citizens. Some have indeed been involved in smuggling, selling and distribution of drugs and other criminal acts but this does not mean that we should respond with violence and looting to the majority of foreign nationals that are living legally and peacefully in our country. Violence as a whole is not acceptable even to those who may be guilty. Let us seek alternative solutions that will strengthen rather than destroy the bonds that we have as brothers and sisters living in the African continent.
This funding is therefore aimed at providing one such solution by aiding foreign owned stores that have been recently looted in Johannesburg to ensure that they can get back on their feet again as well as letting the international community, particularly our neighbouring African countries, know that we appreciate the presence of their people in our country and are deeply indebted to them for what they have done for our people during apartheid and have continued to do so in the products and services they render to and for us.