Cost of refugee camps will only fuel the anger: iLIVE
I read with dismay about the xenophobic attacks in Cape Town and the Free State (SA edges closer to xenophobic flare-up", July 13).
The pictures of 2008, when 62 foreign nationals were killed and more than 10 000 were displaced across the country, came to mind.
It would be prudent to indicate that in two weeks 712 foreign nationals have been displaced so far this year.
In Free State, which includes Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu, 590 foreigners were displaced, while in Cape Town the head count is up to 122 people displaced.
I am convinced that the xenophobia is an indication of bigger issues in the community and the foreigners are used as scapegoats due to their vulnerability and desperation.
The bigger problems range from poor service delivery and unemployment to corruption. These issues will not be addressed if the foreigners are put in refugee camps.
The creation of refugee camps will bring about new challenges - camp management, proper humanitarian standards and security for the foreign nationals will need to be put in place.
In that case, South African citizens will feel that more is being done for the foreigners than for them, and using taxpayers' money.
From the attacks that have happened so far it is clear that the general population does not understand what refugees and asylum-seekers are and the fact that South Africa is a signatory to the Geneva and African Union conventions to that effect. There is so much education on these conventions and the fact that refugees and asylum-seekers need not be returned to the countries they come from if their lives are still in danger there.
In the current situation in which refugees are not in camps, they are able to survive through small businesses, like the spaza shops, and thus do not benefit from social grants and other taxpayers' money.
It becomes complicated when abuse, exploitation, xenophobia and corruption begin to affect the foreigners e trying to make a living.
I totally understand as a citizen of this country that the numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers has increased due to a combination of factors internal and external to South Africa. For example, the gaps in the law and weak border controls top this list.
One does not understand how syndicates cross the border with trafficked human beings if they do not collude with Home Affairs officials at border posts. We need to clean up our house and ensure that proper controls are in place before we even think about camps for refugees and asylum-seekers.
If that is not addressed, corruption will continue and those who are supposed to be in will be out.