FOREIGN nationals living in South Africa are demanding that Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba retract his statement that illegal foreigners were criminals and they should leave his city.
Yesterday the African Diaspora Forum (ADF), an umbrella organisation of migrants living in South Africa, held a meeting at their offices in Yeoville, Johannesburg, where they resolved to protest against the mayor’s statement.
Mashaba told journalists last Thursday that illegal immigration is an act of crime, and therefore illegal immigrants were criminals.
ADF members and supporters have agreed to gather outside his offices in Braamfontein at 11am on Friday to hand over a memorandum. ADF chairman Marc Gbaffou said: “We are very unhappy and shaken by the mayor’s comments. We want him to retract (his statement). He is instigating violence.”
Abdeslam Ahmed, the executive chairman of the Union of Arab Communities of South Africa, said they would protest until Mashaba retracted his statement and apologised.
“We will be gathering to protest. (His comments are) similar to what the (Zulu) king said and Mashaba’s party, the DA, condemned that. We call on the same spokesperson to call on his mayor to retract his statement and apologise. We will insist until he retracts and apologises,” he said.
Last year, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini was taken to the SA Human Rights Commission after he had accused the government of failing to protect locals from the “influx of foreign nationals”.
The commission found him not guilty of hate speech.
A leader of the Zimbabwean community, Nicholas Mabhena, said Mashaba’s statement sought to sow division between locals and foreigners.