Looters exit from a tuck shop in Meadowlands, Soweto. Widespread looting continues across Soweto after a 13 year old boy was shot dead  by a foreign shop owner during an alleged breaking and entering incident . 220115.
Picture: Chris Collingridge
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Looters exit from a tuck shop in Meadowlands, Soweto. Widespread looting continues across Soweto after a 13 year old boy was shot dead by a foreign shop owner during an alleged breaking and entering incident . 220115. Picture: Chris Collingridge 224

Poverty the cause of looting

Time of article published Jan 27, 2015

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You cannot have hundreds of young people roaming the streets of Soweto doing nothing, writes Sidwell Tshingilane.

Johannesburg - Looting in Soweto (and elsewhere) is directly linked to unemployment and poverty. The fundamental cause of events last week is youth unemployment. You cannot have hundreds of young people roaming the streets doing nothing.

Our people are not happy about the state of affairs in South Africa. (What we have) is a time bomb waiting to explode. We saw what happened at Tata Mandela’s memorial service where our president was booed by the crowd, mainly from Soweto.

Sowetans are angry with poor service delivery and corruption in municipalities and government. The private sector and government have failed to transform the economy. All they have done is enrich themselves, their friends and families.

Our people feel they cannot allow inequality to continue where the rich get the best education and well-paid jobs while the poor are denied access.

Young men and women in South Africa are still waiting for the better life for all Nelson Mandela promised in 1994.

More than 3 million young people did not vote last year because they didn’t believe that voting would change their lives. What we see is the beginning of the new revolution and it will start in Soweto.

 

When a people have been disenfranchised to a level of indignity and are unable to reach the architect of their economic condition, they look for the nearest object to vent their frustration.

Such actions (looting) must be condemned, but we won’t eliminate them if we don’t deal with the root cause that is poverty and youth unemployment.

We must also ask ourselves why a Somali would kill a local boy? Why shoot a 14-year-old? What African love are you talking about when you kill your African brother? (The shop owner allegedly fired at a group of people trying to rob his shop.)

No country has ever moved from developing to developed without the help of foreigners.

South Africans are welcoming, but the number of foreigners entering South Africa is ridiculously high.

 

What happened in Soweto was a long time coming, and people at the Home Affairs Department don’t seem to know what they did by issuing so many permits to foreigners when its own people do not have jobs.

When a foreigner enters a country with such abject poverty and an apartheid legacy and takes over informal trading by fixing prices and pushing indigenous people out of business, they indirectly contribute to extreme social misfortunes.

Charles Cilliers wrote in his book – For Whites Only – that you will not see xenophobia in places where immigrants are not competing directly for the same work as locals.

Everyone’s humanity must be valued. All criminals, regardless of their origin, through the legal process should be brought to justice.

We were poor and brutalised under apartheid. We were united to win freedom.

We need to unite to create jobs and end violence today. We must ask ourselves why so many young people are looting. The answer is poverty, youth unemployment, inequality, frustration.

The government failed to support our small business and spaza shops, so our people become jealous when they see Somali and Ethiopians shops managing.

But, do they contribute to our economy and do they create jobs for South Africans?

* Sidwell Malixole Tshingilane lives in Soweto. These are his personal observations.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Pretoria News

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