Many young people believe foreigners are bad for the country. They are most likely to believe foreigners living and working in South Africa had a negative impact on the country. Which is why they wanted to drive away their businesses. Why it was believed that the South Africans wanted to drive foreign shop owners away? Young people were most likely to think foreign nationals who owned shops were drawing customers away from other businesses which is why people wanted them to go. If the attitudes of all South Africans reflects to be correct, then the country has got a major problem. That means Xenophobic attacks on shop owners are likely to continue, it is clear that a significant effort is needed from government to educate people about advantages that foreigners can bring to the country.
Xenophobic violence in the country is on the rise. Do most foreign nationals in South Africa make a very positive contribution to our society and economy? Foreign nationals must not be attacked because most contribute positively to the country. From the outset, it is more evident that most foreign nationals make very positive contributions to society. The country had become more cosmopolitan and diverse as a result of immigrants. The irrefutable fact is that it is wrong to claim that all immigrants are undocumented and therefore all illegal. It was also wrong to claim all foreign nationals committed crime. We must all be very concerned about the repercussions of this criminality as it might spark diplomatic and retaliatory attacks against South Africans in other countries.
Firstly, immigrants contribute towards our country’s economic development by investing in the economy, supplying critical skills including in our health facilities, teaching our children and youth in schools and universities and thus transferring their knowledge and skills to them. Accordingly, these people pay tax which contributes towards expanding the national fiscus whilst many still have to send remittances back to their families in the countries of origin and yet still sustain themselves and their livelihoods in South Africa. Furthermore, many nationals of our neighbouring countries travel to South Africa daily, weekly or monthly to buy their groceries or purchase goods from our retail shops to go sell in their countries, paying toll fees on our roads and thus contributing towards revenue generation that has been so vital towards increased both social as well as economic expenditure to benefit South Africans.
We have not seen hordes of armed gangs chasing down the streets the many South Africans that evade tax. Secondly, by entering our country through our designated ports of entry as regular migrants, and by complying with both our immigration and other legislation, most foreign nationals contribute towards enhancing South Africa’s national security and ensure that we can manage the visitors in our midst, whilst we can protect both these visitors in our country as well as South Africans. Recently, we have enhanced our legislation and regulations in order to more effectively to protect South Africa by managing and minimising the risks to our country arising out of the processes and phenomenon of international migration.
Thirdly, immigrants in our country contribute towards nation-building and enhance our social cohesion by bringing more diversity to our nation and creating more understanding of the diverse nature, not only of Africans of Africa but also of the peoples of the world. Today, for example, you have new entrants into the South African nation that are not rigidly part of an African majority, but who are part of both the African majority and the immigrant minority at the same time; whose home languages are none of those we have come to know over the centuries of the formation of our nation. Fourthly, immigrants have integrated South Africa into the global community and African immigrants in particular have made South Africa an integral part of the African continent that we rightfully are.