South Africa: Applying the Rule of Law to Everyone, Foreigners Included, Will Help Stop Xenophobic Attacks


We need to respect the application of the rule of law to deal with mob violence, and issues such as drugs, or counterfeits goods, no matter who is responsible for such illegal acts. Doing this removes the central issue against which the xenophobic mobs are rallying.

Many South Africans have lamented the challenges faced by our citizens who are suffering under ever-declining economic prospects and increasing insecurity. Institutions that are meant to be ensuring effective governance over the exit and entry of goods and people, such as Home Affairs, have been riddled with unprofessionalism, corruption, disorganisation and criminality, all constituting a lack of adherence to the rule of law. If this is allowed to continue, the scenes we have observed in Soweto, Johannesburg and Pretoria will escalate.

The unleashing of mob violence against foreigners, suspected drug dealers and all manner of "alleged criminals" is a reaction of people who no longer trust in the state's willingness to fulfil its duty of upholding and applying the law. Mob violence is not the answer in a civilised society. However, where the criminal justice system is non-functioning, and where the police cannot be trusted to fulfil their duties; people will apply uncivilised solutions....

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