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Fikile Mbalula: Farmers Exploit Zimbabweans as Cheap Labour

Johannesburg - A South African cabinet minister has warned local farmers against employing Zimbabwean illegals and then blaming the police ...

Johannesburg - A South African cabinet minister has warned local farmers against employing Zimbabwean illegals and then blaming the police when robbed and or killed by the foreigners.

South Africa's police Minister Fikile Mbalula has warned farmers to be careful not to employ undocumented and unregistered foreigners for the purpose of cheap labour.

Mbalula says this makes it difficult to trace undocumented foreigners if they commit crime on farms. He was responding to the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Dianne Kohler-Barnard during the release of the annual crime statistics in Parliament.

"It's true that there are criminals who stealing from farms, undermining farmers work and that. But equally there are farmers, who are wrong, because they employ people from Zimbabwe as cheap labour and exploit them, and then those people turn against them and kill them and then it becomes a safety question.
Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula 

"So I am saying to the farmers as I have met with them, stop that. Help me to ensure compliance, working with the department of labour. Don't employ unregistered, undocumented foreigners in our country and when they turn against you blame SAPS. We've got nowhere to find such people."

In June this year, Mbalula accused undocumented Zimbabwe nationals of wreaking havoc and perpetrating crime in the country.

“They kill, they do everything, we get into those buildings, they are stinking, they are dirty and they are high-jacked. We went there with the police, we raided those places. I told one person coming from Zimbabwe, ‘we are coming with the police; you know what is going to happen?

“We are going to arrest you for not having papers.’ He said to me, ‘minister I know, but I will try my best to come back’.”

Unfazed by the barbaric acts that have claimed many lives before, Mbalula said xenophobia was being used to silence him.

“One time I said the people who robbed that OR Tambo (Airport) in terms of the heist, five of them arrested come from Zimbabwe. They are trained soldiers. South Africa was bombing on me that I was being xenophobic, I was not, I was just exposing the nationality, and I said let me leave this thing.”

Prior to 1994, immigrants from elsewhere faced discrimination and even violence in South Africa. After majority rule in 1994, contrary to expectations, the incidence of xenophobia increased.

Between 2000 and March 2008, at least 67 people died in what were identified as xenophobic attacks. In May 2008, a series of attacks left 62 people dead; although 21 of those killed were South African citizens. The attacks were apparently motivated by xenophobia.

In 2015, another nationwide spike in xenophobic attacks against immigrants in general prompted a number of foreign governments to begin repatriating their citizens.

A 2004 study by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) of attitudes among police officers in the Johannesburg area found that 87 percent of respondents believed that most undocumented immigrants in Johannesburg are involved in crime, despite there being no statistical evidence to substantiate the perception.

Such views combined with the vulnerability of illegal aliens led to abuse, including violence and extortion, some analysts argued.

In a March 2007 meeting with home affairs minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula a representative of Burundian refugees in Durban claimed immigrants could not rely on police for protection but instead found police mistreating them, stealing from them and making unfounded allegations that they sell drugs.

Two years earlier, at a similar meeting in Johannesburg, Mapisa-Nqakula had admitted that refugees and asylum seekers were mistreated by police with xenophobic attitudes. - Online Sources

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