Row over unpaid anti-xenophobia prize money reaches court

23 March 2018 - 11:51 By Timeslive
Image: Russell Roberts

Government handed over a trophy - but not the promised R100‚000 cash. Now the fight for payment is reaching the Grahamstown High Court.

The Legal Resources Centre said the issue relates to an initiative aimed at combating xenophobic violence against foreign migrants in South Africa.

The Mkhaya Migrant Awards were launched in 2015 by the Minister of Home Affairs. The Khulumani Support Group nominated Mbulelo Lipile‚ the founder of the Grahamstown Foreign Shop Owners’ Dialogue Platform‚ in the category of “Most Integrated Community”.

The LRC said the nomination was motivated by Lipile’s efforts to secure a peaceful co-existence among local and foreign shop owners based on civic agreements forged amongst all roleplayers and witnessed by local SAPS officers.

In response to xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals who owned spaza shops in Grahamstown‚ the Forum aided in resolving conflicts between the local and foreign spaza shop owners as well as conflicts between shop owners and the local community.

The impact of the Forum was significant in Grahamstown and the model was viewed by the Eastern Cape SAPS as the best model to be replicated in other troubled areas in the province‚ said the LRC.

Although Lipile’s nomination was accepted as the winning nomination‚ the Minister of Home Affairs decided to award the prize to Makana Municipality on behalf of the Makana community.

The prize‚ which comprised a trophy and R100‚000‚ was awarded to the previous mayor of Makana‚ Zamaxolo Peter‚ at an award ceremony in 2015.

"Although the trophy has been handed over‚ the R100‚000 prize money has not been paid‚" said the LRC.

The Khulumani Support Group‚ represented by the LRC in Grahamstown‚ has now instituted proceedings in the Grahamstown High Court to compel the Minister of Home Affairs to honour the award to Lipile.

"The application is to compel the Minister of Home Affairs to award the prize to the rightful winner and pay the award of R100‚000 to the Khulumani Support Group‚ which will assist in advancing the work of the Forum‚" the LRC explained.

"Should the application of Khulumani Support Group and Lipile be successful‚ it will assist immensely in advancing the work of the Forum and preventing xenophobic violence in the Grahamstown area."