Amnesty International says high-ranking public officials and political leaders must stop blaming high unemployment and poverty on foreign nationals.
The organisation’s Shenilla Mohamed says blaming the country’s joblessness on refugees and asylum seekers may spark xenophobia in South Africa.
“What has been happening over the years is that they have abdicated responsibility, they have thrown it out and left everyone to their own devices and under COVID-19 we know that many, many genuine asylum seekers were unable to get the documentation they needed,” she said.
“What does this mean? It means they are left vulnerable to situations like today where you have politicians using them in order to gain points. They are vulnerable to genuine xenophobic sentiments that exist in South Africa, which is really sad because a lot of these xenophobic sentiments are targetted at African nationals.”
On Wednesday, Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said quotas needed to be imposed on foreign workers, and semi-skilled employment needed to be regulated.
This came after the EFF inspected businesses to check the ratio of foreign to local workers.