SACC launches indaba to address challenges around foreign nationals

Left to right: Rev Dr Lionel Louw, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana and Ms Nomasonto Magwaza

The South Africa Council of Churches (SACC) this week launched a national indaba which aims to engage interested parties in a search for solutions to tensions over foreigners living and working in South Africa.

SACC general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana says in a statement that their priority is to create “a national process towards a stable national environment where the growing lawlessness over non-South Africans can be addressed before it spills into the broader decline of the rule of law, through what may seem like ‘justifiable’ acts of public frustration”.

He says that deep poverty gnawing at the lives of the economically excluded majority of South Africans is behind murmurings that “non-South Africans are stealing our jobs” and periodic acts of brutal violence against foreigners.

“It is one manifestation of what the SACC terms the failure of democratic South Africa to achieve the promise of the post-apartheid South Africa. The failure to achieve this makes for the growth of a scarcity mentality that grips poor communities in the absence of hope,” he says.

Mpulwana says that It must be noted that campaigns against non-South Africans are not confined to the poor communities, as they also reach to the professionals and other middle-class environments, as has begun in the case of foreign doctors.

The SACC invites all interested parties to submit their proposals in writing to for the attention of the secretariat of the National Indaba on Non-South African Persons in our Society and Economy by March 31.

“Our request is that these public submissions must be solution-focused, aimed at presenting their recommendations for how these challenges should be resolved in the short and long-term,” says Mpulwana.

Submissions will be evaluated through an intensive, multi-sector engagement and research process leading up to the hosting of a broad solutions dialogue forum from June 21 to 23.

Other, complementary nation-building initiatives in the pipeline include The Initiative for Economic Transformation for the Excluded Majority and the Nation-Building Initiative of Healing & Reconciliation for a Common Identity – the “One Identity South Africa” campaign, said Mpulwana.

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