Mayor condemns xenophobia, says migrants built Johannesburg, wants suspects prosecuted
Johannesburg has been built by migrants from across the world over the past 130 years and it is a tradition she wishes to continue, The Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Mayor Herman Mashaba, said on Sunday.
“We condemn xenophobia in all its manifestations and will ensure that those who perpetuate violence against immigrants face the full might of the law,” he said in a statement.
“At the same time we will ensure that the rule of law is upheld in our city and that no criminal feels safe on our streets.”
Mashaba’s comments come after he met with the African Heads of Mission in Tshwane on Friday to discuss “ways in which we can work together to ensure a progressive and sustainable strategy in dealing with migrants” in Johannesburg.
“The meeting also provided us with an opportunity to discuss ways to prevent xenophobic incidents from occurring in our city. Although the City has a coherent strategy through the Migrant Help Desk situated in our Social Development Department, we want to ensure that no stakeholder is left behind in our efforts to ensure that our Help Desk encompasses diverse views on immigration,” he said.
The city could not be a “safe haven for local or foreign criminals” and the creation of an inclusive and prosperous city needed for the rule of law to be upheld, Mashaba maintained.
“We were all clear that the rule of law is paramount in ensuring the safety of both locals and immigrants in our city and country. No country can hope to have a stable democracy, economic growth, development and safe communities without the rule of law being upheld,” he said.
“We agreed that the City would communicate and collaborate with all embassies going forward to ensure we implement strategies that benefit all residents, both foreign and local.”
In December 2016, the DA mayor caused upset when he said illegal immigrants in the country were criminals.
“They are holding our country to ransom and I am going to be the last South African to allow it,” he said at the time.
Following an outbreak of xenophobic violence in February, the Save South Africa campaign blamed Mashaba for the incidents.
“His irresponsible statement sparked these latest attacks,” the organisation had said in a statement.