JOHANNESBURG — A landmark court hearing where foreign nationals based in South Africa have taken the South African government to court over recent xenophobic attacks was expected to kick off in Johannesburg yesterday.
The Black Business Forum Zimbabwe (BBFZ) and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), which represent victims drawn from several African countries, filed the application on behalf of African foreign nationals drawn from Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Somalia and Zimbabwe.
President Jacob Zuma and eight ministers have been cited as respondents.
.BBFZ and ZEF made an urgent application to seek surety that such violent actions would not be allowed to recur as well as ensuring state of emergency if ever another round of xenophobic violence occurs.
The foreigners argued that Zuma should have declared a State of Emergency in xenophobic hotspots in terms of the State of Emergency Act 64 of 1997.
The organisations demand that Zuma’s government should put in place mechanisms and structures to stop the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals as well as protect the lives and property of all foreign nationals regardless of race.
The organisers also demand that both the Police Minister and Police Commissioner investigate and arrest those implicated in the commission of xenophobic attacks.
Among figures that the organization demand probed for incitement include Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, and Edward Zuma, son of the President.
“In addition to this injunction, the Minister and the Commissioner of Police are hereby ordered and directed to through the Registrar, to submit weekly reports to this Honourable Court as to progress therein.
“That the National Director of Public Prosecutions be compelled to prosecute all perpetrators of xenophobic attacks as referred to him/her by the Minister and the Commissioner of Police.
“. . . that all named Respondents ensure that the justiciable rights of all foreign nationals be upheld in line with the Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,” reads the court papers in possession of CAJ News Africa.
The organisations also demand that the Presidency and Government make all necessary steps, or irrevocably commit to compensate and place all persons affected of their previous status and benefit prior to the xenophobic attacks that have, or may in future occur in the Republic.
The organisations further argued that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees should advise the South African government to halt deportations of Zimbabweans and allow the regularisation of stay by asylum seekers in accordance with dictates of United Nations Charter and International Law.
Governments of Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique repatriated some of their citizens from South Africa.
The organisations argued that Africa, in particular the Southern African states, were credited for the growth and sustenance of South African economy. South Africa’s hegemony in many African states was significant.
The further argued that the liberation struggle that brought South Africa its revered Constitution and majority rule was totally credited to the support it got from mainly its African allies.