Do Foreigners really steal jobs in South Africa?
So the local South African’s voices continue to reverberate across the country as they rise up in arms against the fellow black foreigners. Their loud screams and cries echo the all the time the broken record dirge that foreigners from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and other neighbouring countries are ‘stealing’ or taking away their jobs. Such preposterous accusations leave a lot to be desired seeing that everyone who is qualified and permitted to work in South Africa is legally employable. This misconception that foreigners ‘steal’ their jobs comes is flabbergasting to say the least.
To begin with, a Zimbabwean living and working in South Africa legally is not a foreigner in my eyes. Before any human is categorized as a Zimbabwean or South African, we are all Africans. When George Floyd was brutally murdered by a policeman in the United States of America, all and sundry was quick to scream blue murder that black lives matter. Whereas in Africa, we still discriminate one another on the lines of nationality. This is sad and worrisomely stupid.
Let us break down this elephant in the room-jobs that foreigners are allegedly taking away from South Africans, Lately, the hashtag ‘PUT SOUTH AFRICANS FIRST’ has been trending thick and fast with the local South Africans vociferously calling for the prioritization of the local people in job recruitment. Which jobs in a country grappling with unemployment that is at an all time high? Recently many truck drivers were going berserk striking as they allege that more truck drivers in South Africa are foreigners. Since when has being a foreigner been a crime?
The big question which all South Africans should ask is who owns the truck companies that are hiring the foreigners. It does not help any South African to fight the foreign driver who was simply hired on the grounds of being qualified regardless of their nationality. Why can’t the local South Africans fight to own businesses, why fight over menial jobs. To me it is really petty, and divisive that we allow the white capitalists who own the South African economy to divide us as black Africans yet all we are doing is striving to earn a living in our motherland Africa.
The other industries that are swamped by foreigners is the retail and restaurant industry. Same story applies in this regard. Who owns the big retail corporations and restaurants in South Africa? What exactly is the point of tussling for menial jobs that pay next to nothing instead of focusing on the real owners of the economy. Surely, there is more to this than what meets the ordinary eye.
Not in any way am I being insensitive to the grievances of the local South Africans who are unemployed and survive on Government grant. On the other hand I do strongly feel South Africans should be Pan-African and work together with their fellow African brothers to change status quo in the country’s economic system.
The opposition political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters has for the longest time lobbied for the nationalization of several sectors of the economy. I would love to think that is precisely where most of the economic problems could be remedied. Fighting fellow Africans all in the name of them ‘stealing’ jobs is tantamount to allowing the white capitalists in South Africa pitting us against one another.
We are one Africa. Black lives Matter. No one is a foreigner in Africa. We are all Africans before anything else.
By Harrison Ncube
Harrison Ncube is a Radio Presenter at Radio54 African Panorama based in South Africa