Gatvol South Africans demand ‘foreigners vacate our jobs’
Avuya Walters

The polarising topic of immigration in South Africa has reared its head. In the midst of condemnation against the rampant police brutality in Zimbabwe, a faction of Mzansi is still charging ahead with its disdain for foreigners apparently taking hold of the country’s unstable labour market.

‘Vacate our jobs’, Disgruntled SAns demand

On social media, at least, South Africa is divided on the topic of foreign nationals. Some feel empathetic towards forced immigration, caused by escalated violence in some African countries.

A case in point is Zimbabwe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has faced global condemnation for using the police and armed forces to intimidate and arrest journalists, as well as peaceful protesters, who are raising awareness about the rampant corruption that has plagued the country.

On the other hand, many South Africans have criticised the government for its lacklustre attitude towards the increasing immigration of foreigners into the country, a domino effect which threatens jobs.

Their argument is, the presence of high numbers of undocumented foreign nationals allows unscrupulous employers an opportunity to offer cheap labour in the informal market.

These below-par wages remove South African citizens from competing since it’s perceived that foreigners will gladly accept working under horrid conditions.

Planned protests against employment of foreigners: What we know

At the forefront of these calls is controversial activist Lerato Pillay. The widely criticised has pioneered the ‘Put South Africans First’ slogan that represents the anti-foreigners movement.

Pillay found herself at the receiving end of backlash for comments she made about the ongoings of the unrest in Zimbabwe. This was her response:

“To those who came to my comment section uninvited to try and ridicule us instead of going to Zimbabwe and fix your Country, Continue with your interfering but don’t cry when we get Gatvol because you are the ones provoking us, we are in our Country demanding our birth rights.”

While the activist drew ire from those who empathise with Zimbabwe’s plight, she has garnered support from radicals.

Consequently, Pillay and her supporters have announced plans to march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, under the “Put South Africans First” banner.

This has yet to be verified but from what Pillay tweeted, we believe the protest will take place on Thursday 20 August 2020.