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SA a beacon of hope for foreigners

FILE PICTURE: A child waving a South African flag. Pic: Alaister Russell.

FILE PICTURE: A child waving a South African flag. Pic: Alaister Russell.

South Africa has become a beacon of hope for millions of African foreign nationals who flee their own countries due to political problems, wars, high unemployment and poverty.

In a bid to establish the contributing factors that have resulted in the influx of foreign nationals, The Citizen contacted a number of South Africa-based foreign national leaders. Unlike in their own countries, where they can be terrorised and exterminated just for voicing their views, they freely outlined the contributing factors that lead to many of their people fleeing from their home countries.

Congolese in Diaspora Networks executive delegate Prince Abenge said there are lots of job and business opportunities in Congo but due to wars, many Congolese fled to South Africa and other countries for safety.

“We are told there are about 600 000 Congolese in South Africa. The killings, abductions and rapes of women in our country have caused people to flock to other countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, the UK, France, Belgium and the US. Millions of people have been killed, therefore in order to feel safe they flee because a person can get killed at any time,” said Abenge.

Chairperson of the Zimbabwean Community in South Africa, Ngqabutho Mabhena, said many Zimbabweans left the country due the Matabeleland genocides between 1983 and 1986.

“Others left the country due to loss of jobs and high unemployment. Another reason is political violence.”

It has been reported that there are more than 2 million Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa.

Chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum Marc Gbaffou also said economic problems and human rights abuses caused people to flee the Ivory Coast.

“I was leader of a union and had to flee from my own country as they wanted to arrest me. If you belong to an opposition party you get killed. You go to sleep and the following day when your family wakes up they discover that you have disappeared,” said Gbaffou.

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FILE - A policeman sits atop a minibus carrying empty ballot boxes to a central counting center in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa.
FILE - A policeman sits atop a minibus carrying empty ballot boxes to a central counting center in Democratic Republic

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