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Malema wants hospitality industry to reveal the number of foreign nationals it employs; political analyst says its a “starting point”

EFF leader Julius Malema at People’s Park in Durban. Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

EFF leader Julius Malema at People’s Park in Durban. Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 9, 2022


DURBAN - EFF leader Julius Malema changed his tune when he announced that his party would be visiting the hospitality industry to assess how many foreign nationals the sector employs in South Africa.

He was speaking at the EFF Siyabonga rally in Durban on Saturday.

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Malema told his supporters not to fight people from outside the country, but to focus their anger on the employers.

“We are poor, we are unemployed, we want jobs. When you go to restaurants foreigners are working, do not hate the foreigners, hate the owner of the restaurant because those foreigners did not hire themselves,” Malema said.

He added that: “We are not fighting with our brothers, but if I get a tender in Umlazi, the law says I must hire people from Umlazi. Why is that law not applying in the hospitality industry?”

Malema’s utterances are a drastic change in stance, compared to last year when he said foreign nationals should find “creative” ways to enter into the country and that the EFF would rather lose votes then join the bandwagon of blaming the unemployment crisis in South Africa on foreign nationals.

“If the gates are not going to be open for SADC. Fellow SADC people, please, find a creative way. This is your home. Your families are here. There is no way anyone is going to close you out here,” Malema said.

Political analyst Dr Metji Makgoba, described Malema’s remarks as “timely” and a “starting point” in addressing issues of exploitation in the industry.

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“We have to understand issues of migration in South Africa in the context of white monopoly capital and super-exploitation of African people. The diagnoses there is to see how capital is manipulating black people to create divisions that result in xenophobic attacks.

“One of the ways in which capital generates contradictions is to shift power battles from politics to individual black people. The issue should not fall into the trap of xenophobic attacks, it is a starting point to exploring exploitation, and how it is used to divide and conquer,” Makgoba said.

Makgoba said the EFF is not deviating from its open border policy, but should be given a chance to take this further in terms of issues of white power hegemony.

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“The influx of Africans in the country is a structural problem. South Africa is still in the hands of multi-national corporations owned by white people who have the power to hire, which the ANC has enabled.

“So, we have to look at this issue from the larger political-level, not the framing of employment issues using the lenses of personal responsibility, ‘who΄s taken who΄s job’,” Makgoba said.

“We need to move forward and start addressing these problems from the side of white monopoly. The problem is not black Africans, it is the government and the private sector. The government has to regulate who employs people, and how many.

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“So, it is not a deviation from the open-border policy, but an understanding of the real problem. And the EFF should be allowed to move with their programme of action,” Makgoba said.

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EFFJulius Malema