The SOS Coalition notes with concern the violence and brutalisation of foreign nationals in various regions of South Africa in recent weeks. In our condemnation of this violence and as we each play our part in pledging support and solidarity to our friends, loved ones and comrades who are particularly available to this violence, we recognise that it emerges out of our nation’s history and continued present of violence.
While we acknowledge the advancements that have been made in transforming our nation’s polity into one that holds up the values enshrined in our progressive and world-class Bill of Rights, we recognise that we still have a long hard way to go to rid ourselves of the structural systems of power and oppression that make this violence possible. The nationalism and cultural chauvinism which marks this second conspicuous wave of violence against our foreign guests and compatriots is not borne out of a vacuum, but out of centuries of racial and economic inequality that, 21 years into our democracy, we have not faced honestly or made sufficient meaningful advances in resolving.
In a society with a triple crisis of poverty, inequality and chronic high unemployment as ours has, it comes as no surprise to us that the destruction of livelihoods and lives is particularly concentrated in our urban townships which have high levels of poverty, few opportunities and inadequate and unresponsive State services – particularly security services. While our State and its ranging spheres of governance continue to resort to violence in response to protest and direct actions about the desperate living conditions of its people, our foreign-born colleagues, friends, neighbours and kin will continue to be available to violence as the ready scapegoats for the triple crisis.
We call upon all the people of South Africa, foreign-born and not, green barcoded ID carrying and not, to join us in our condemnation of violence against foreign nationals.
On Thursday 23 April 2015, the SOS Coalition will march in Johannesburg to stand in solidarity and support with the fallen, the standing and their families – for they are our family. We call on all who are able to do the same.
The SOS Coalition represents a broad spectrum of civil society stakeholders committed to the broadcasting of quality, diverse, citizen-orientated public-interest programming aligned to the goals of the SA Constitution. The Coalition includes a number of trade union federations including COSATU and FEDUSA, a number of independent unions including BEMAWU and MWASA; independent film and TV production sector organisations including the South African Screen Federation (SASFED); a host of NGOs and CBOs including the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), SECTION27 and a number of academics and freedom of expression activists.
Sekoetlane Jacob Phamodi
076 084 8077