The situation that occurred during last week’s violence in Diepsloot has caught the attention of the UN, which has raised concern about the incidents involving foreign nationals.
Acting resident co-ordinator and head of the UN in South Africa, Ayodele Odusola, says the organisation is concerned about the ongoing incidents of violence, intimidation and harassment, including the brutal killing of Elvis Nyathi, a father of four children, in Diepsloot.
Odusola said that he found it deeply worrisome and unfortunate that the incident happened in a country with one of the most inclusive constitutions globally.
“Over the recent past we have noted with deep concern as movements such as Operation Dudula are illegally forcing people suspected to be undocumented foreign nationals to show their papers. Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Nyathi and with all of those families affected by similar violence in the recent months,” said Odusola.
The UN said that it was important that the South African government ratified several international human rights and refugee instruments that are also an integral part of national law.
This, they said, requires that the human rights of all persons residing in South Africa, regardless of their nationality or immigration status, must be respected, which includes individuals who may be refugees, asylum seekers or stateless persons.
On Friday the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) was also deeply concerned by the death of Nyathi.
The commission said they were concerned by the unequal policing and community safety across various communities in South Africa.
“It is an observation that communities burdened by higher levels of unemployment and poverty have access to proportionally fewer policing resources. This in turn results in higher levels of crime; however, these circumstances do not under any circumstances justify individual or group acts of vigilantism,” said the commission.
The commission said it was concerned by vulnerable groups, especially foreign nationals, being targeted and scapegoated for the prevalence of social ills within communities.
“Various individuals as community leaders and groups have emerged recently, stoking flames of xenophobia which places the blame for social ills such as crime, poverty and unemployment solely on migrants within South Africa,” said the commission.