ATM vows to enforce ‘put SA first’ policy if it wins local elections
Imagine it is after the 2021 local government elections and the African Transformation Movement (ATM) is in power in some municipalities in South Africa.
The unemployment rate is at an all-time low as unskilled South Africans work as waiters, waitresses, truck drivers, security guards, petrol attendants, and are the owners of internet cafes, spaza and cellphone shops.
Foreign nationals only compete for scarce skills jobs, as the informal sector is strictly reserved for South Africans.
That is the campaign that the ATM has embarked on through its controversial “Put SA first” message.
Should the municipal polls go ahead in 2021 and not be pushed to 2024, as some parties have suggested, and should voters place their faith in it, the ATM says it will introduce bylaws that will criminalise the employment of foreign nationals ahead of South Africans in the informal sector.
ATM president Vuyo Zungula told the Dispatch the government had failed to enforce immigration laws.
“Every municipality that we win will have bylaws that will be enforced. For example, people not wearing masks are being arrested now because they have broken the law.
“Similarly, once we pass these bylaws, anyone who is not an SA citizen who has a spaza and trades in the informal sector, will be arrested because they would have broken the law, because that is what the bylaw will say,” he said.
This thing of saying South Africans are lazy and undermine certain sectors is a lie. It is a narrative that people used to use to exclude locals
The IFP previously said it would sponsor a bill which, if signed into law, would compel employers to hire South Africans ahead of foreign nationals in unskilled jobs.
The “Put SA first” campaign has had its fair share of criticism, with some saying it bordered on promoting xenophobia. But Zungu says “people only take matters into their own hands when government fails”.
“The problem we have in SA is that when someone from SA is assaulted for committing a crime, it is not xenophobic, but when it is a foreign national, it is xenophobia. In Botswana they implemented these laws and no-one said it’s xenophobic because it’s the government enforcing its laws,” he said.
Dispelling the notion that South Africans were lazy people who looked down on some jobs in the informal sector, Zungula noted an example of a national food chain store which had been flooded with more than 4,000 applications when it advertised cleaning jobs in the Free State.
“This thing of saying South Africans are lazy and undermine certain sectors is a lie. It is a narrative that people used to use to exclude locals.”
Zungula said some companies preferred to employ foreign nationals because they wanted to exploit them.
He said foreign nationals had their bread buttered on both sides as they can open businesses in their home countries and in South Africa — which he said would not happen under their watch, unless a foreign national invested R5m in South Africa.
“What we are saying is that our economy must provide for South Africans. Only when we have an excess can we provide for other people who are not South African,” he said. — DispatchLIVE
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