The Complexities of Migration
Ethnicity, Nationalism, African Renaissance and Global Cosmopolitanism: Prisoner’s Dilemma in managing the complexities of international migration for South Africa
By Dr Matlotleng Matloui
Dr Matlou explores the issue of migration in light of the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa in an article titled: Ethnicity, Nationalism, African Renaissance and Global Cosmopolitanism: Prisoner’s Dilemma in managing the complexities of international migration for South Africa.
From time immemorial people have moved temporarily or permanently, voluntarily or forcibly (all relative concepts) to seek better opportunities or escaping persecution and they will continue to do so despite human and natural barriers. The migration process which spread peoples, from the cradle of humankind Africa, across the globe has usually involved losses by individuals and groups in relation to others, much as there are also win win situations. Migrants have engendered spread of knowledge, services and products mainly positive but also negative, such as racism, slavery, dehumanisation, genocide, exploitation, division, colonisation, neo-colonisation and underdevelopment. Consequently, individuals, people and their institutions have varying attitudes, behaviours and policies towards migrants depending on how they perceive and experience the migration phenomenon. Interestingly African communities have usually treated foreigners or visitors with kindness and hospitality – Ubuntu (I am because you are) associated with southern Africa with similar variants across the continent. Unfortunately for centuries this welcoming spirit of foreign migrants has cost Africa dearly.
A discussion on identity formation and how individuals and groups, mainly states utilise these for both positive and negative actions is vital for understanding migration and increasing global challenges of managing this phenomenon. The South African experience will be analysed as it grapples with legacies of colonialism, nation building and development with a concern that the miracle of the early 1990s is stagnating and on a slippery slope?
Importance of Political Institutions in Identity Formation
Political institutions are organisations or patterns of activity, norms, rules or values deeply ingrained in how human societies are governed. They influence behaviour and public policies, providing a useful instrument for analysing the concepts in the title supra and how to manage international migration to ensure stability and development. In discussing the emotive issue of international migration it is necessary to understand that individuals and groups have varying political identities which are socially constructed and influence attitudes; their role within the world and how collectives organise themselves. Humans have for centuries organised themselves, to engender development, security and meeting other needs, in collectives – families, clans, tribes, feudalism, city-states, empires – spanning the most simple to highly intricate; covering miniscule territory to huge land masses and; with hundreds of persons to millions or billions. Various philosophies propound reasons for development of these collectives: from people giving up many rights voluntarily through social contracts to stem anarchy which can be dissolved if the rulers renege on their obligations; to others arguing that collectives exist for exploitation and breeding inequality by elites who gain economic and political power through exploiting the poor and marginalised.
Ethnicity is ascribed at birth, distinguishes and binds people from others based on culture – social attributes and not inherently political. National identity often but not always derived from ethnic identity, is the glue binding people together based on a common set of political aspirations of self-government and sovereignty, arises from a sense of belonging to a nation and leads to nationalism – belief in unique political identity or patriotism. There are situations globally where ethnic identity does not lead to national consciousness and vice versa. Consequently we have both multi-ethnic nations and others with one or two ethnic groups only. Citizenship involves individuals or groups pledging allegiance to the state which is in turn obliged to guarantee them rights; is obtained at birth (although in some countries foreigners do not have this right); can be multiple and is sometimes lost (stateless persons). These identities are very recent even though their attributes have existed in various forms over centuries as the complexities of human societies were fashioned, especially after the formation of the state. Ethnicity and national identity arose as people perceived their cultures and forms of organisation as different from others, leading to the nation-state - one dominant nation encompassing a state. Many states are grappling with becoming nations because of the manner in which they were formed, through imposition from outside!
The modern state gained supremacy in 17th century Europe after the Thirty Years’ War, leading to the 1648 Westphalia Treaty where the suzerainty of the Pope over Europe’s people was constrained. States are defined as being sovereign; with institutions which develop and implement development policies and; monopoly over the instruments of violence, characterised by having security forces, taxing powers, judiciary and some kind of welfare system. Importantly a state seeks to protect its citizens and foreigners within its territory, coupled with maintaining security against internal and external threats. By the 19th century Europe had through its economic, military and political power imposed the concept of the state across most of the world, built on slavery, colonialism and imperialism; today this is the dominant form of political organisation with no persons outside their remit. In the process there was disregard for the autochthonous development process, dividing or sometimes bringing together disparate peoples which explain some challenges these states though now “independent” presently face. Imperialists effected genocide on indigenous people in places like the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, whilst encouraging Europeans to migrate to these places, including Algeria and most of southern Africa. Meanwhile international enslavement of Africans introduced by Arabs in the 7th century was taken to hideous heights for four centuries by Europeans as a foundation for expanding their industrial revolution.
In other cases the desire for cooperation rather than destructive competition, has led to the new forms of political organisations developing. The 19th century saw the birth of non-governmental (Red Cross 1863) and intergovernmental organisations International Telegraphic Union 1865) to enhance cooperation and international relations. In the 20th century these increased rapidly in numbers, issues covered and global spread. The issues of political identity supra go beyond state borders. These include integration where states reduce individual sovereignty for collective good – tighter connections, common policies and shared values and rules, as evidenced by the European Union which has been in formation since the late 1950s, led by former bitter enemies France and Germany. The depth of integration ranges from intergovernmental cooperation to a supranational system where sovereignty is exercised over members in numerous matters by the new institutions formed. Furthermore, in today’s global village with deeper and wider international contacts and connections, leaving no people outside unlike foregone eras of globalisation which were thinner and less extensive; an identity of cosmopolitanism (political and socioeconomic order encompassing values from everywhere) binding people irrespective of national borders is developing. Of course depending upon where individuals, groups and countries are on the ladder, globalisation is either negative or positive. However, even the strong seek to curb the impact of external influences in their societies, especially with the pervasiveness of information and communication technologies and supersonic travel. Interestingly many people and nations desire the benefits of globalisation like freer flow of capital, a greater array of products and services and better quality of life, but close their borders to migrants especially from the developing world, even voluntary migrants like touristsii, as this paper further indicates.
Humans have multiple identities simultaneously and varying combinations of those above constantly interact leading to different outcomes. The question is how states manage the twin interests of individual freedom coexisting with greater equality in society both locally and internationally, as shown by the international human rights regime composed of values and institutions of bilateral and multilateral configuration.
International Human Rights Regime
Human rights have always existed as espoused by various cultures, societies, religions etc. The identities supra when manipulated to attach negativity to diversity coupled with growing inequality within and between countries, leads to othering of people and denial of their rights. Following large scale displacement of the two major wars in Europe between 1914 and 1945, various international conventions were developed to manage and assist these people plus sharing the burden; first under the League of Nations and then United Nations. Later regional and national legislation was also developed taking into account their specific circumstances. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the title indicates is global and covers all human beings. However, though ratified by virtually all states, very few could then (colonialists in particular), and now pass the muster of meeting the obligations under its 30 articles. Most states restrictively interpret its Article 13(1) which avers that “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state”, especially where these are non-citizens.
The European war between 1939 to 1945 had spill-over effects globally including displacing millions led to the development of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and later its 1967 Protocol. Refugees were defined as individuals fleeing into another country from political persecution: onus being on the person proving their fear to the receiving state. Armed struggles coupled with post-independent African conflicts displaced people en-masse which led to enactment of the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention expanding the concept to granting groups refugee. Migrants or people seeking better socioeconomic opportunities would not qualify under the above criteria to legally remain in host countries. However, numerous countries face challenges of thousands of applicants who realise the lack of capacity, time taken for processing and availability of appeals processes mean they can remain in host countries for years meeting their original objectives before their cases are finalised. With millions of displaced persons globally, camps have often been the preferred option since 1945; they have been prominent across Africa since the 1960s. However, their occupants suffer numerous negative physical and psychological impacts, whilst they often breed corruption, waste resources, are security nightmares and damage the environment.
Globally there were over 92 and 72 million displaced persons in 2008 and 2011 respectively; with most being Africans, trying to escape conflict, poor governance, human and natural disasters.iii The majority were displaced within their own countries numbering 62 and 41 million respectively, these being refugees. The issues of cross-border migration is a hot issue globally again with the attacks on foreigners in South Africa; debate on regularising the documentation of over “ten” million (impossible to know since they are undocumented!) migrants in the USA; widespread ill-treatment, incarceration and mass expulsions of mainly Africans from the Middle East and harrowing tales of boat people seeking to enter Australia and Europe (often suffering dehydration, hypothermia, mental and physical injuries, sometimes death). Over 175,000 migrants undertook harrowing land and sea journeys to enter Europe in 2014 and this year over 1,600 have already died on the seas. The latest catastrophe on the seas in the past two weeks saw about 900 deaths. Refugees usually return to their original homes when there is substantial transformation, whilst some remain having integrated in receiving countries. However host communities are challenged economically by migrants not meeting the narrow UNHCR definition or even wider AU one, clogging the system and presenting untenable situations for them. Many of these people being innovative utilise various means, legal and illegal to survive; become victims of exploitation, can be valuable resources depending on circumstances.
When migrants are well received they favourably affect the status of transnational communities in the value chain. Migrants transfer intellectual or social capital (skills, education, culture, networks etc) between countries; finances and materials to develop home countries; utilise transport systems for links between their numerous worlds whilst developing tourism with multiplier effects on various other sectors; telecommunications are impacted positively through the interactions with their homelands and for other reasons; and they enhance trade between origin and destination countries. Migration engenders cooperation and regional integration if well managed and can benefit all. Furthermore, migrants are catalysts for investment at home and they have encouraged the development of Diaspora bonds, acted as drivers of mergers and acquisitions and outsourcing in origin states, especially in China, Taiwan, India, Israel, Ireland, Mauritius etc. China started with Diaspora bonds in the 1930s; Israel commenced with Diaspora bonds in 1951 and has raised more than $18 billion; India has since the 1990s raised $11.7billion; whilst since 2000, in Latin America various countries have issued remittance-linked certificates El Salvador ($300m); Mexico ($300m), and Peru ($100m)iv. In 2006, over 150 million migrants worldwide remitted more than US$300billion to developing countries; about $39billion was by Africansv.
State Formation in South Africa
Non-Africans have for centuries exploited African resources and people to develop themselves, laying the foundations for racism, enslavement and colonialism by Arabs and Europeans starting from the C7th and formally ending in the C19th coupled with massive exercises in erasing the contributions of Africans to human development. Africans were often considered and treated as sub-human. Colonialism created states combining disparate peoples, sowing the present seeds of underdevelopment, division and leadership deficit across most of Africa, which decades of independence has hardly forestalled.
Meredith amongst many authors outlines how war was instrumental in the making of South Africa by the British and Boers, which had been waged against indigenous people from the time Europeans landed in the country.vi The deprivation and exploitation of Africans gained momentum with the discovery of vast deposits of minerals in the latter half of the 19th century with the introduction of pass laws and discriminatory labour legislation and sub-regional migrant labour system based on stringent residence and work conditions and repatriated at the end of their contracts (of course quite a few found ways of beating the system – corruption did not start in 1994!). South Africa was built on the blood, sweat and tears of Africans. Indentured labour mainly from India mainly to Natal and China began 150 and about 120 years ago respectively. Though they were supposed to be temporary migrants they eventually integrated in South Africa after a long period of exploitation and discrimination. The 1910 Union of South Africa Act enacted by the British parliament gave the country to Europeans; buttressed by the 1913 Land Act abrogated 93% of the land in the country to Europeans and leaving Africans with the remaining paltry, largely unproductive and disparate pieces. Caucasian migration, (though not from eastern and southern Europe) was encouraged right up to the dawn of democracy whilst various impediments, including an electric fence on South Africa’s northern borders kept mainly Africans out!
Britain laid the foundations of racism, exploitation, high levels of violence and inhumanity whilst the Boers perfected it as Apartheid. The South African Native National Congress formed in 1912, which became the African National Congress in 1923, had members and officers from across the sub-region, transcending colonial boundaries that divided various African nations as they sought to liberate their people. It was advantageous for the British to divide and rule people, encouraging unity only when it benefited the white minority like the Southern Rhodesians in the Central African Federation or South Africa. The British, always in competition with the Afrikaners in South Africa, reneged on their original commitment to incorporate Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland into the former state. Of course nationalism in these countries meant that the local elite strove for independence, which was a better option than being subjugated into the Apartheid state as sub-citizens. Furthermore, the continued suppression of the Namibian people and refusal to grant them independence in defiance of the United Nations forestalled any consideration of unity with South Africa.
After the 1960 Sharpeville massacre and over 3 decades about 20,000 mainly Africans went into exile, mostly into Southern Africa. They stayed largely in camps, were under the purview of liberation movements, and very few of them worked or were self-employed. Apartheid South Africa murdered hundreds and wrought billions of Rands damage on the region in retaliation. The liberation struggle was largely internal, bolstered by support from most of the rest of Africa, Global South, Eastern bloc; Scandinavian states and international organisations. Most Western governments and corporates continued their racist and exploitative links with the Apartheid state which strengthened it and extended the brutality, cost and time resisting the de-colonisation process. However, their citizens were largely in support of the liberation of South Africa. Some frontline states even though they supported the liberation struggle were forced to maintain ties with the Apartheid economic and military bully. PW Botha termed it constructive engagement but it was actually destructive engagement. Some African governments further away, including Kenya, Malawi, and Zaire maintained mainly relations with Apartheid South Africa; whilst Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Senegal supported Dialogue in violation of OAU policy to isolate South Africa. The 1990 unbanning of liberation movements and release of political prisoners was sufficient to engender mass return by most South African exiles; with democracy dawning in 1994.
Dawn of the “New” South Africa
Breaking from its racist past the Preamble of the South African Constitution states that: “We, the people of South Africa, Recognise the injustices of our past, Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those worked to develop and build our country and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.” The latter part of the statement supra, emanates from the 1955 Freedom Charter which was a collection of inputs across the country in opposition to the racist minority rule of Apartheid and marginalisation of the majority indigenous population. The remainder of the Preamble continues utilising the pronouns We and Our inter-changeably with citizens and the people. Do the latter include non-citizens as well? The Preamble ends with quotes from the national anthem requesting the Lord to Bless Africa, reaffirming the roots and identity of the country in relation to the continent. South Africa received praise globally for having a very liberal constitution, especially an all embracing Bill of Rights – often guaranteed to Everyone, including non-citizens as discussed infra.
Furthermore, South Africa showed its gratitude for the global support, especially from Africa, by implementing an international relations framework built on respect for human rights and an African Agenda. It contributed to the formulation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development; transformation of the Organisation of African Unity into the African Union (AU), paying a significant portion of the latter’s budget; provides substantial peace keeping capacity across Africa; has diplomatic representation in virtually every African country; and ensures a vocal African voice and participation in various international fora. Furthermore it has widespread corporate presence across Africa. As the most socioeconomically advanced country on the continent, it soon became a destination for numerous migrations legal and illegal, mainly from Africa, plus from abroad. Migrants especially professionals have made significant contributions to various fields in South Africa. The brain drain from various African countries led to concerns and various regional agreements were developed to curb the trend, although they are difficult to implement. Semi-skilled migrants have moved mainly into retail and performing various services and trading of products.
However, the French say plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose – the more things change the more they remain the same! The centre periphery relationship between South Africa and the rest of Africa continued and has strengthened, whilst the unwieldy “racially-biased and security based immigration policy has transformed very slowly. The inherited Aliens Control Act, which the British introduced to its African colonies was kept as such for years after 1994; visas (and onerous entry and stay conditions) kept being required mostly from Africans and the developing world but not Westerners; status determination and deportations were mainly colour driven etc. The pre-democracy status quo was maintained; strange way to treat one’s friends! Colonialists who inflicted so much pain and division got off lightly ala reconciliation. A largely white minority strenuously calls for entry of skilled migrants usually people of their hue, whilst employing low skilled Africans and under poor working conditions. The fight for reparations of the OAU in the 1990s although now in the doldrums on the continent must hold the colonialists responsible for compensating Africans for the destruction wrought on them, by colonialism and apartheid, not the post-colonial country.
Much as forefathers of Pan-Africanism preached Africa for Africans, arguing Africans cannot be foreigners on the continent, reality is different. Colonial boundaries dividing Africa into separate countries and identities were maintained post-independence and many colonial regional integration arrangements soon dissolved. Visas were removed mainly for Western countries, but for decades restrictions remained for Africans. The regional integration agenda led by the OAU/AU and partner organisations develop numerous laudable policies and laws; African countries ratify these and numerous international ones, possibly to garner positive images, yet fail dismally in implementation. Nevertheless ECOWAS, followed by the EAC outshine other sub-regions in Africa in implementing their migration conventions related to their citizens. The SADC Univisa system which is premised on weak internal boundaries and strengthened outer borders, regional cooperation, effective and efficient ICT systems, largely counterfeit-proof documentation etc as developed in Europe is gathering dust.
When migrant numbers are relatively small or manageable local resentment to sharing or competing for resources especially when economies are booming is low. Often locals enjoy the diversity that migrants infuse through a wider choice in cultures, food etc. The migrants also fuel economic development through providing skills, investing or creating new opportunities with their countries of origin. When there are downturns migrants often become scapegoats for the misfortunes from a combination of communities, business, labour and government. Africans have deported other Africans en-masse during these periods despite these people being long term usually legal residents: Ghana (1970s); Nigeria (1990s) and in this century Angola, Ivory Coast, Libya etc. Kenya has just given thousands of Somali exiles 4 months to repatriate from the Garissa environs following the terror attacks which killed about 150 university students this year.
It is laudable that South Africa did not utilise the refugee camp option after 1994 which was understandable with the minimal and manageable numbers then. Allowing asylum seekers and refugees free movement, residence and undertaking their lives across the country. However, by 2000 there were refugee applicants from over a hundred countries numbering thousands. UNHCR was approached and it was not averse to reception centres where applicants would temporarily reside whilst undergoing status determination, with the genuine ones allowed to integrate and unsuccessful being returned home. This option was not implemented then. Liberal interchanging of the terms economic migrants and refugees in South Africa creates confusion, leads to abuses, corruption, holding of the state and country to ransom etc. The present refugee reception centres are certainly not working, especially with the large numbers, time taken for processing, limited capacity, poor knowledge management, abuse of power leading to the state losing many migration related cases and the semi-integration of applicants whilst their cases are being considered. Removal becomes virtually impossible once the application process has been exhausted, especially if families have been created.
The Present Migration Crisis
The opening of South Africa post 1994 reintegrated this long isolated nation into the global community with its various challenges and opportunities, including international migration. The migration policy arena was a political football during the first decade under Minister Buthelezi of the IPF and a largely ANC cabinet; policing of national borders was lax and massive corruption of the national population register and security of identity determination and documents compromised.
Numerous poor migrants moved into informal, poorly serviced and crowded settlements across the country where they competed with indigent locals for shelter, employment opportunities and resources, creating tension, conflicts and opportunities for structural violence. Post 1994 South Africa inherited a very violent state and patriarchal society (there are over 18,000 deaths annually, high levels of domestic violence and growing numbers of incarcerated individuals, especially youth) Consequently unsurprising and most violent and long lasting anti-migrant incidents occurred in 2008 in Gauteng led to the death of 68 Africans, 21 of them South Africans showing that the inferno does not discriminate and locals become victims in these crime fuelled situations. Many people were displaced, lost property and stayed in camps for weeks. The justice system dealt with suspects who were arrested. However, few programmes to improve relations between locals and foreigners were untaken but not sustained. Since the beginning of the year a smouldering migration crisis has been developing. In January 2015, a Somali shopkeeper shot a 14 year old alleged robber in SOWETO, Johannesburg, sparking off a spree of looting, damage of foreign (mainly African) run shops, exodus of foreigners from the township and a massive police operation to manage the crisis. Numerous people were injured, nine killed including a baby and hundreds arrested. Other parts of Gauteng Province and South Africa soon followed similar trends though on a smaller scale; though the smouldering crisis is now threatening to be a full blown inferno.
Policy differences are exemplified by the Departments of Home Affairs and Tourism having varying views on migration and institution of some regulations in 2014 that presumably served before cabinet, had to be postponed. South Africa’s migration regime is so compromised that even when government seeks to clarify issues as various ministers (particularly Mokonyane and Zulu) did during the January 2015 crisis, controversy surfaces. Yes, some of the comments could have been inflammatory or unhelpful, but they were not unconstitutional. South Africa’s Bill of Rights in Chapter Two which is very wide-ranging applies to everyone and place an onerous responsibility mainly on the state, but also on everyone in the country. Few countries can match such liberalism and the state is expected to balance the implementation of these rights with others, especially in the most unequal country globally, where the majority indigenous people were oppressed and deprived for centuries. There have been numerous reports about various categories of citizens of neighbouring countries entering South Africa monthly to receive social grants, sourced through the corruption of state officials, enraging citizens especially those who are rightfully denied access to identity documents and enjoyment of these rights. Any perceived or real advantaging of “foreigners” pertaining to lax enforcement of laws and sole enjoyment of Rights reserved for Citizens: Political Rights (19); Citizenship (20); Freedom of Movement and Residence (21) and; Freedom of Trade, Occupation and Profession (22) is fuel for an already charged situation of increasing dissatisfaction with government and society. The Constitution must be widely circulated to both citizens and foreigners in order that all understand their rights and responsibilities to manage the challenges facing South Africa and need for institution of a fair and balanced international migration regime taking into account the socioeconomic root causes of “forced movement”; African roots of the country; development oriented strategies etc.
Apparently comments by King Zwelethini in Pongola in early April 2015 advocating for better international migration management by government were “misconstrued” by his Zulu constituents to expel foreigners, mainly shop owners. Seven people, four of them South Africans were killed and millions of Rands of property stolen or destroyed. Police minister Nhleko said he was at the event where the king spoke and he spoke to the responsibility of government pertaining to effectively managing international migrationvii. At an imbizo in Durban on 20 April 2015, King Zwelethini emphasised that what he had said a few weeks back was South Africans had not learnt from the unfortunate events of 2008. Strange and not helpful considering that many of his people interpreted his words as a war cry! Furthermore, he has requested communities under his nation to work with traditional leaders and government officials to ensure that migration into their areas is properly managed.
President Zuma and ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantasheviii, also espoused views on the present crisis amongst numerous leaders. ix Zuma stated that "perhaps we as government have not been quick enough in dealing with people’s frustrations”. This has become common as the numerous violent service delivery and labour strikes exemplify in South Africa. We need proper management of migration so that frustration, with service delivery and government, is not meted on foreigners. Extra capacity has been deployed to control borders, massive security upscaling in various hotspots is ongoing and impromptu exercises checking relevant document of migrants in known areas of concentration are ongoing. However, these are targeted at Africans largely and cannot be justified. Better knowledge management and utilisation of ICT is required for these exercises to be more effective; visa issuance must be tightened to reduce the high number of over-stayers, whilst the refugee management system has to be made more efficient and less prone to abuse.
Mantashe indicates that the ANC is now advocating the establishment of refugee camps and after being processed there should be proper introduction of refugees to communities where they settle. Some other ANC top officials take a different view on camps, meaning the matter is going to require further discussion. If this becomes policy there must not be singling out specific groups of people making them more vulnerable; whilst migrants must be treated equally and unlike now where colour and wealth secure privilege! However, the root cause of forced migration must be tackled in the countries of origin and regional development and integration must be taken more seriously by African governments. There must be discussion with Asian and Middle East governments to manage migration better and improve governance. Global partnerships are required for improved human rights conventions and more allocation to share this burden.
Majority of South Africans stood behind foreigners with various public and private institutions and persons calling for termination of the violence and destruction of property; demonstrations and other campaigns of solidarity have been undertaken, whilst discussions with other governments is ongoing to bring normalcy back. The lawlessness has tarnished the country’s image, especially in Africa, and will cost South Africa dearly; Nigeria having recalled its high commissioner. Meanwhile South African diplomatic missions and businesses in some African countries have been targets of public protests. Africans have rightly condemned the violence but more lasting solutions to the challenges are required from all.
South Africa’s present spate of anti-migrant violence, murder and robbery against mainly Africans though now largely under control, as cold winter sets in, is strongly condemned and unacceptable. Communities must expose the perpetrators, whilst government must restore peace, ensure rule of law and assist victims of this insanity. Migration management capacity must be increased especially to crack down on employers who exploit foreigners by under-paying them, simultaneously structurally transforming colonial legacies of inequality, poverty and unemployment which means South Africa has the highest global gini coefficient, otherwise anti-migrant attitudes and behaviour will not change. Mangena decries the post-1994 governments which have for 21 years dealt indecisively with these issuesx. Moreover, it cannot be correct that South Africa is held ransom for the assistance that many African countries provided during her liberation struggle, especially that non-citizens must enter the country unchecked, reside as long as they want and have unbridled access to various resources. This was certainly never the case for most South African migrants, except few top officials of liberation movements! Yes the frontline states in particular paid a high price and South Africa has invested tremendous resources in an African agenda to ensure
development is engendered across the continent. Furthermore, the state must educate both citizens and foreigners on their rights and responsibilities, plus respect for rule of law, whilst repairing South Africa’s tarnished image and relations with various African countries. Other states generating forced migration have to tackle the root causes, improve their governance and obligations to their citizens, neighbours and international community. They were right to decry the violence against foreigners, but they harm their people more by squandering resources and delaying development in their countries. They have also adopted an attitude that the problem is for South Africa and washed their hands off their own citizens.
The colonial legacy and inter-dependency of Africa must be emphasised but must not be excuses for states continuing to misgovern their people. Africa is an oxymoron: rich in natural resources and human development poor. It cannot continue to be firmly rooted at the bottom of the international ladder of development, almost taking pride in its beggar status and failing its people over five decades after so called independence. Most of Asia which was behind has since raced far ahead of Africa. Poor governance and leadership deficit are the main issues holding Africa back. The AU peer review mechanism must have sanctioning power for tackling these challenges instead of merely making recommendations to members. African governments must become more accountable to their citizens whith whom they have social contracts.
Africa must adopt development strategies which engender voluntary rather than forced migration. This will entail much more unity and speedy integration, real partnerships as envisaged under NEPAD and policies with a human face. Leaders must be accountable and human rights should have more value even as we live in a state-centric world. The same applies to Asia which is fuelling the economic migrant phenomenon to Africa and some parts of the Middle East; Eastern Europe and poorer parts of the EU. If indeed Africans are not to be foreigners in Africa, then there must be greater development and across the continent as a whole. The attributes of being Africans first before nationals of 54 disparate countries and a continental identity with the requisite symbols, images, anthems and creation of a greater spirit of commonness will require hard, systematic and patient work. Much has been achieved in the EU in building this commonness especially spreading shared values and assisting poorer members substantially increase their development to reduce the push pull factors of migration. However, the individual identities still remain very entrenched and very little friction exists with the larger European one. The benefits of union have been massive – peace, development, regional identity and creation of a global bloc with considerable power. The African experience is the opposite and explains the clinging strongly on national identity especially the richer more peaceful countries, which believe the cost of unity comes at a rather high price!
i Director, Excelsior Afrika Consulting, Tshwane and Fellow, Centre for Africa Studies, University of Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.
ii Persons who leave their normal place of residence from one night up to a year.
iv High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora 2001; UNDP 2003, Worker remittances as an instrument for development, Panama, United Nations Development Program, http://www.undp.org/surf-panama/docs/
vi Meredith, M. 2007. Diamonds, Gold and War: the British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa. Public Affairs, New York.
vii SABC2 Morning Live 15 April 2015.
viii SABC3 Evening News 15 April 2015.
x Mangena, M. Self-hate lies at the root of our difficulties. Mail &Guardian 10to16 April 2015.