Refugees and asylum seekers in Cape Town are on edge following the scourge of xenophobic violence over recent weeks.
On Monday, as the country celebrated Human Rights Day, the Congolese Civil Society movement has urged the government to be more receptive to foreigners entering the country.
Congolese Civil Society of South Africa founder Isaiah Mombilo organised a march to Parliament on Human Rights Day to raise awareness of the plight of refugees.
“This march was in response to the concerns of African people, mostly locals who have raised their voices about xenophobia. We have said whatever has been done must be done properly and not [be] discriminatory,” he said.
Mombilo added mixed nationalities joined the march taking a stand against xenophobia.
“South Africa is a country where everyone must be welcomed, and Africa cannot be divided. The problem is not foreigners taking jobs; the problem is government. Pushing foreigners away from their jobs in South Africa is wrong,” he said.
Mombilo added a plan is needed by the government so that there is no discrimination against foreigners.
“Foreigners are doing their best to survive in this country,” he said.
The march comes just after violent clashes between fellow seasonal farmworkers from Lesotho. About 500 residents used burning tyres to block the entrance to Nkqubela in Robertson and threw rocks at vehicles to prevent contractors from loading workers onto the vehicles. The department of labour has since announced it will investigate all farms in Robertson for the employment of allegedly illegal foreign nationals.
Provincial Chief Inspector David Esau said over the weekend: “We need the labour brokers to tell us where they’ve placed people and on which farms so that we can go to those farms and use the Immigration Act to see if the people are legally in the country.”
In other parts of the country, tension has remained high since Operation Dudula, which started in Soweto last year and has since spread to inner Johannesburg and Hillbrow.
The movement aims to root out illegal, or undocumented foreign nationals, particularly those setting up shops and engaging in criminal acts.
Mombilo stressed that xenophobia should not be tolerated.