South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Mkongi believes South Africans have surrendered their city – Johannesburg – to foreigners but, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) thinks Mr Mkongi is just being irresponsible.
SAHRC strongly condemned Mkongi’s remark saying it’s concerned by xenophobic statements of leaders in the country.
As learnt, Bongani Mkongi on Friday the 14th July 2017 said:
“80% of the city is occupied by foreign nationals… How can a city in South Africa be 80% foreign national? That is dangerous. South Africans have surrendered their own city to the foreigners.”
The Deputy Minister made the statement while he was addressing concerns about crime and hijacked buildings in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.
SAHRC is of the view that Bongani Mkongi’s statements were xenophobic and capable of fueling anti-immigrant sentiments.
“South Africa is already grappling with the scourge of violent xenophobic attacks often directed against fellow African non-nationals.
“As a figure of authority in the Department of Police – and by extension across society – the Deputy Minister is expected to exercise a great deal of circumspection in his public utterances.
“Not only are the statements factually incorrect, they also unjustifiably ascribe crime to foreign nationals as an undifferentiated group,” SAHRC pointed out.
Having said that, the Commission called on South Africans to exercise caution when addressing the public so as to not instigate xenophobic violence.
SAHRC stressed that Bongani Mkongi’s statements were disturbing.
“It is concerning that the Deputy Minister of a Department such as the Department of Police which is expected to play a leading role in combating and preventing xenophobia as well as the effective detection, crime prevention and law enforcement, is heard uttering inflammatory statements which are factually incorrect and fail to address community concerns around crime.
“Leaders are expected to constructively shape public debate and social cohesion through evidence-based statements. Repeating stereotypes does not advance the goals of upholding the fundamental rights of all in society,” added the Commission.