unansweredHendricks and Whiteman 2004 argue that the part failure

unanswered.(Hendricks and Whiteman 2004) argue that the part failure to resolve national problems to a greater extent may be attributed to South Africa’s national interest being on a certain level based on Africa’s prosperity and stability, an indication of its liberal foreign policy. The liberal nature of South Africa’s foreign policy can be attributed as being one of the causes of xenophobia since in an effort to gain readmittance to the continent’s organisations and the international community, domestic interests took a backseat (Nyamnjoh 2006) posits that the adoption of the principle of equality without justice creates environmental tension especially as the average underprivileged South African realize that their constitutional rights were being undermined as a result of failure to deliver the material benefits of citizenship coupled with the need for continual competition with foreigners.

Inequality and discrimination

In spite of the fact that South Africa is Africa’s economic hub being the most industrialized, it still faces the problem of very high rates of inequality and discrimination in the allocation of wealth in both social and economic spheres .

The gap between the rich and the poor is apparent according to (Barns 2008) and this has led to a feeling of resentment and frustration especially with the blacks. The discrimination is so deep cited with regards to Africans to the extent that they have even given foreigners a name labeling them “Makwerekwere” which implies a black person who cannot demonstrate mastery of the local South African languages and one who hails from a country assumed to be economically and culturally backward in relation to South Africa (Nyamnjoh 2006).

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It is the author’s view that this can be likened to the period of slavery in Europe where Blacks were referred to as Negros. Name calling and labeling only saves to deeply entrench the discriminatory attitude which is a seed well sown making xenophobic attacks inevitable.

Political factors

As outlined by the Human Science Research Council (HSRC) in 2008 the hostilities in South Africa are the expression of citizens’ frustration over the slow pace of service delivery, consultation, housing provision and administration in particular as well as the corruption and insolence of government officials especially in the Police Service and in the department of Home Affairs.

The South African Government departments tend to spend little of the fiscal year’s budgets allocated to them for the purposes of serving the people and bringing about development to the various communities (Webb 2008). In terms of the budget allocation, accusations were levied against the Government’s national departments for not spending their capital expenditure.

According to the Report, by the third quarter of the 2007/2008 financial year, eighteen departments had spent less than fifty per cent and four less than twenty per cent of their allocated resources. With such incapability to effectively manage the finance allocation by government departments, the Government was also blamed for failing to take serious consideration of matters pertaining to job creation and economic development (Webb 2008).

Other political causes of Xenophobia include structural or institutional discrimination, the laxity of the Department of Home Affairs to grant asylum seekers refugee status, the illegal presentation of immigrants, and South Africa’s border problems. According to Matzopoulos et al. (2009: 21-22), questions are being raised about the attitude of the South African Government towards foreign nationals, especially the manner in which these foreigners are dealt with by the Department of Home Affairs concerning the matter of their legal status. This involves the very slow processing of foreigners’ applications to be granted a legal status in which, at the end, the majority is refused refugee status. Such delays by the Department of Home Affairs have led to the unjustified arrest and detention of refugees in the immigration section of prisons, with some waiting to be deported (McKnight, 2008: 27).

Moreover, the majority of the South African population is not informed about the status of various migrants and the general misconception is that all immigrants come to South Africa with the aim of benefiting from the democratic nature and the comparative economic and political stability of the country (McKnight, 2008: 22).The laxity exercised by government institutions in dealing with issues to do with foreigners causes nationals to take matters into their own hands and this fuels xenophobia.

‘Why are foreigners always the first target of the working class in times of economic turbulence?’ (Biepke, 2008). Further Biepke adds, based on the mood of the working class, refugees are generally used as a political pendulum by the Government. This is because they are hard-working and the Government is usually patient with foreigners when the economy of the country is flourishing. However, when the economy is in downturn, refugees become the easiest target for blame (Nell, 2009: 235). The political reasons for xenophobia thus correlate with the factors: the failure of the state to achieve human development together with poor services and the deteriorating infrastructure and ongoing poverty in all give meaning to xenophobic attacks and the accompanying violence. The base line of all these xenophobic practices in South Africa by locals and other communities has resulted in serious implications for the country as a whole. These implications follow in the line of socio-economic effects and consequences.

Conclusively it can be noted that the existence of competition with foreigners, that is, competition for jobs, health facilities, housing, education coupled with foreigners success, fear of foreigners bringing in diseases, concerns that they may marry South Africans, squatting in certain areas, foreigners not having to pay taxes while engaging in informal businesses and indulging in criminal activities unequivocally results in xenophobia. (Minnor 2005)(Nyamnjoh 2006)

External causes of xenophobia

On the other hand, in the face of the high unemployment rates in South Africa, the incursion of foreigners continues to increase; among them are legal as well as illegal immigrants and refugees escaping war or instability in their own countries and in search of a better life. For example,

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