God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Amnesty?!

There are a lot of foreigners in this country – South Africa is for most people fleeing violence and persecution in Africa a safe heaven of some sort – and obviously the borders are so porous that it is much easier to flee to South Africa than to Europe. This has not always been welcomed in the last years – the periodically xenophobic attacks, most recently in Pretoria and Johannesburg, show how sensitive the topic is and how fast the mood can change. Obviously there is a lot of politics involved – be it quite insensitive comments of the Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, be it economic considerations because immigrants often work harder to achieve their dreams opposite the entitlement and despair of South Africans in the perspective neighborhoods; or be it simply jealousy and opportunism stretching to pure criminality.

There is definitely no question that a country has the right to control influx of foreigners and to secure the borders – but looking at the current situation where there is a mix of illegal immigrants, unwilling Home Affairs officials, corrupt border officials and so many small or bigger injustices in dealing with those knocking on South Africa’s door my solution would be besides looking in a fair manner at all sides of the story to give a period of grace, an amnesty to legalize all those who are now in the country.

It would not only remedy  the situation but also would give those politically in charge and the administration a fair overview to know who is in the country. It would stop the hiding and the stress of those trying to make a living and it would undermine the often corrupt relationship between foreigner, refugee and those officially in charge of keeping them in or out for a good reason.

Flanked by a strengthening of the policing of the border and an effective system to avoid a further undocumented influx from the rest of Africa this would be the first step to calm down the situation and to be fair to all concerned.  It would show grace and mercy, but also a clear cut line for the future. It would make the lives of hundred-thousands of human beings acknowledged and valued – and it would show the rest of the world that there is a way to show a mix of mercy and justice mitigating a difficult past in the last years.

 

Filed under: Africa, General, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

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