An open letter from civil society
Last Thursday, a special meeting of civil society organisations and popular movements was convened by the Unemployed People’s Movement and the Rural People’s Movement (RPM) in Grahamstown to deliberate on the xenophobic looting, its impact and implications with a view to find lasting and peaceful resolution in defence of human and fundamental rights of the people. They drafted the following statement:
We, the undersigned, condemn this unlawful activity. We are aware that certain sectors of our broader community have been misled by rumours [about recent murders] and that some have sought to justify their illegal looting on the basis of such rumours and unsubstantiated allegations. Looting can never be justified.
We call upon the following parties – some of which have clear legal responsibilities – to act swiftly to protect human rights:
• The public to exercise calm and abide by the law. Looting is illegal and should result in the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators. No reasons or beliefs can justify looting or injury to persons. Foreign nationals have the right to trade and live peacefully in South Africa provided they abide by the laws of the land.
• The SA Police Service to protect the lives of people, arrest and ensure that due process is followed against those implicated in criminal actions. We importantly call upon the Police to urgently provide the public with a detailed update regarding the various reported deaths that have occurred in the lead-up to the looting.
• The Makana Municipal Council to show leadership during this time of widespread rights violation. Drastic service delivery improvement is required to meet the developmental needs of all communities.
• Civil society, Trade Unions, Civic Associations, and faith-based leaders to play an influential role in calming communities and restore unity and solidarity among and between the people.
• We call upon the various taxi associations to abide by the law and respect the rights of other people engaged in building our shared economy.
• The Independent Police Investigative Directorate to assist in matters where SA Police members are alleged to have failed to fulfil their responsibilities.
• Organised business to speak out in support of those foreign-owned businesses that have been severely affected by the looting.
• The NPA to prosecute those implicated in looting and other forms of violence and unlawful activity.
• School leaders to educate and inform students of the consequences of looting and other unlawful activity.
• Print and electronic media to play a role in educating the citizens to refrain from looting and to respect the fundamental rights of people to trade freely and peacefully towards building the local economy.
In conclusion, we call upon the Municipality and the SA Police in association with civil society, to urgently convene a public meeting of all role players so that a peaceful and long-lasting resolution can be arrived at.
Issued by Makana Anti-Xenophobic Concerned group and endorsed by: • Unemployed People’s Movement • Masifunde Education and Development Project Trust • Rural Peoples Movement • Young Women’s Forum • Public Service Accountability Monitor • South African National Military Veterans Association • Azanian Peoples Organisation • Youth Development Movement • Women’s Development Movement • Farmers Development Movement • United Front • Inyanda National Land Movement
For enquires contact – Ayanda Kota, Unemployed
People’s Movement (078 625 6462) or Jay Kruuse, Public Service Accountability
Monitor (082 880 5407)
No reasons or beliefs can justify looting or injury to persons. Foreign nationals have
the right to trade and live peacefully in South Africa