Back home: What is it that drives nationals to SA?

Moses Tshimukeni Mahlangu

From an independence attainment perspective, South Africa was the last country to be liberated in Africa.

In other words, South Africa is the last born, in as far as getting independence is concerned.

Logically, one would have expected South Africa to be the most dependent state, politically, economically and other.

What is the magnetism that attracts nationals to South Africa, not only from Africa, but the world at large? The secret is to be found in late former President Nelson Mandela’s vision of a rainbow nation.

Anti-immigrant violence in Johannesburg, South Africa


During his lifetime he vowed to fight black supremacy with the same vigour he fought white dominance. Unfortunately, this philosophy (rainbow nation), like that of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo (son of the soil) is disappearing.

Back to the economics, be it bookish or practical, it is mandatory for every government to protect the country from any form of infiltration, be it political, economic or otherwise.

Proponents of protectionism argue in favour of maintaining the status quo. On the other hand, the opposing school of thought views protectionism as promoting mediocrity. In a global village, no country can afford to enclave itself within its boundaries.

Elementary economics supports protecting infant industries as a way of allowing them to graduate from incubation to full-fledged business.

Modern economics takes aboard issues of capital and technology transfers within the global stakeholders.

Economies of scale is another dimension for consideration.

In the course of interfacing, what are other gains that may trickle which are not a direct result of the initial interface? Does South Africa get value for its generosity? To whose favour is the balance of trade?

Currently, South Africa is under political threat from Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance party. Foreign and local policies are under scrutiny.

Unemployment and job uptaking are critical to look into. Politically, the ANC is facing an unenviable position in as far as poverty reduction is concerned. Economically, the electorate has nothing to show for the much-vouched-for independence.

Whether a perception or real, given the prevailing situation in South Africa, foreigners may be viewed as causers of the economic malaise.

Some foreigners have a tendency of bulldozing their way even in foreign lands.

Some quarters refer to the United Kingdom as Harare North, while South Africa is dubbed Harare South.

It is such attitudes that may be resisted by the South Africans. Mind you, South Africans can effectively rise to challenges.

Before vilifying South Africa, one needs to be frank about issues back home. Why are Zimbabweans in particular flocking to South Africa? With or without travelling documents, the trek is unstoppable.

Even with the reported upsurge of xenophobia, people are still flocking to South Africa.

There are fundamental issues to be addressed. There is need for job creation and industrialisation for the home economy to perform.

Factories have been turned into churches, especially in Bulawayo. Education has become useless, as it has failed to bring bread and butter to the table. Politics of connection and containment have not helped the country either.

In the circumstance, before lambasting South Africa (which is simply protecting its markets) there is need for introspection.

It would be foolhardy for any parent to fight the neighbour for refusing to feed the irresponsible parents’ children.

Xenophobia in all its forms is bad.
However, the admonition is that one needs to avoid pushing the Good Samaritan to the corner.

Internationally, immigrants are known to have or continue to perish in search for subsistence.

In countries of refuge they may be harassed, yet still that doesn’t stop them from seeking economic refuge.

“And you masters/rulers remember that you have a Master in heaven who is impartial,” Ephesians 6:9 states.

Accountability will be demanded one day.