Cape Town – A recent report published by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) suggests that all the blame immigrants get for problems in South Africa is incorrectly directed.
The ISS said that immigrants were less likely to commit crimes than South Africans.
It said that public officials and politicians routinely blamed immigrants for a range of social and economic problems in the country and this, “reinforces negative, xenophobic sentiments among many people”.
“South African socio-economic problems are not caused by immigrants, but by poor governance and corruption. Many politicians, public officials, and other high-profile people regularly make anti-immigrant statements that fuel xenophobia. The number of migrants in South Africa is grossly exaggerated,” the ISS report found.
The organisation said that there had been more than 936 violent xenophobic incidents recorded since 1994, resulting in more than 630 deaths, the displacement of 123 700 people and the looting of approximately 4 850 shops.
Here are some of the key findings in the report:
- “South African socio-economic problems are not caused by immigrants but by poor governance and corruption.”
- “Many politicians, public officials and other high-profile people regularly make anti-immigrant statements that fuel xenophobia.”
- “Immigrants contribute positively to the country. They contribute about 9% of GDP and boost employment because every working immigrant creates two local jobs.”
- “Criminal justice data shows that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than South Africans. Only about 2.3% of inmates incarcerated per year are undocumented foreigners.”
- “There is no evidence that most immigrants commit crime or are responsible for most crime in SA.”
The report also referenced a survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council in 2008. The survey suggested that most South Africans believed that immigrants were responsible for crime in the country.
“However, when asked who commits crime in their areas, most people say it is locally based citizens. For example, between 2011 and 2017, the national Victims of Crime surveys showed that only a small minority of households (5.7%–6.7%) stated that crime in their areas was caused by ‘people from outside South Africa,” the report said.
Furthering its intent to demonstrate how immigrants were wrongly blamed for crime in South Africa, the report stated that there was no link statistically between international migration in South Africa and crime.
The organisation also recommended that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development work to dispel misinformation about immigrants in the country.
“The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD), which is responsible for implementing the NAP, needs to work with other government departments and civil society to gather accurate information that dispels myths and misinformation about immigrants in South Africa.”
Compiled by Junaid Benjamin