There is a great coincidence between xenophobic attacks in South Africa. In 2008, at the height of the global economic crisis, a wave of xenophobia killed 42 people, injured hundreds and
25,000 people had to leave their homes.

By Cesar Neto

In 2019, when a new cycle of world economic crisis is approaching, and the South African economy shows signs of crisis, there is a new xenophobia wave. Officially there are 12 dead, including 10 South Africans and 2 foreigners. Among refugees, however, no one believes in these numbers.

After 25 years in power, the ANC-COSATU-SACP alliance has not changed the country’s scenario of poverty and misery. Unemployment has already surpassed 35%, according to
official data. Malnutrition already affects 1 in 4 South Africans and another 28% are on the borderline of malnutrition. In other words, more than 50% of the population is in need. Delay in
child development is in the 30% range and women, extremely affected by poverty, have their bodies deformed by a poor and incorrect diet.

In the working class, according to government
data, 70% of women are overweight due to eating disorders., In contrast, South Africa has the largest mineral reserves in the world. According to investment bank Citigroup, reserves are
valued at $ 2.5 trillion. The same bank considers that the country has the widest and most diverse commodity wealth.

The recession is approaching

In the first week of September, the government posted impressive growth of 3.1%. The data suspicion, as all sectors declined and mining grew by 13%. Why has only mining grown? And the answer seems obvious to many: The current president was CEO of one of the nation’s leading mining companies. It is not difficult for him to get made-up data.

More realistic is the analysis by Italian economist Alberto Madoglio that “Japan and Europe are coming to a probable recession, as are some emerging economies the size of Brazil and South Africa, while Turkey, Argentina and Pakistan are already in recession “.

Although the situation is not exactly the same, let’s take some data from the 2008-2009 crisis to project the likely impacts of a new wave of world capitalist crisis on South Africa’s economy
and masses.

In the wake of this crisis in 2009: 1 million jobs were lost; the GDP fell by 3% between 2008 and 2009; 33% drop in mineral production; 50% reduction in production in the automobile
industry; 21,6% drop in industrial production in 2009; and a fall in exports by 24% in 2009.

The country’s main source of income, mining, fell 33% and the auto industry reduced production by 50%. Overall, industrial production decreased by 21.6% in 2009 and in the same
year exports decreased by 24%. As a result, 1 million jobs were cut, or 7% of the total workforce.

The bourgeoisie trembles in the face of the crisis and prepares to control the mass movement South Africa is the fifth most deadly country in the world. The repressive system is extremely
violent against the demonstrations and the security agencies monitor any meeting according to the data presented by the Right2Know organization.[1].

The big fear is its huge mass of unemployed people and the explosive situation in the so-called townships. Much of the population lives in makeshift homes or directly in containers. With no running water and no room to build toilets, they are forced to fight fierce struggles for chemical toilets. Among township dwellers are millions of economic refugees fleeing poverty across Africa. Immigrants make up 7% of the population.

Xenophobia a state policy 

The first thing that stands out is the ANC-COSATU-SACP’s migration policy. It is no different from US migration policy. An economic refugee’s child born in South Africa does not have a
birth certificate because he is the child of an ilegal immigrant. You must wait for 10 to 15 years to get the birth certificate. Parents must travel every 6 months to the border to renew entry,
otherwise if found by police they will be arrested and often extradited.

Trains carrying workers from the suburbs to the center of large cities are often searched by police for “paperless” people.
In the last election campaign for president in May this year, the three main parties (ANC, DA and EFF) campaigned against immigrants.

In the xenophobic attacks of recent weeks, it is noteworthy that there were very well-trained snipers (from militias) and the passivity of the police in the face of shooting. Police so used to
suppressing small demonstrations seemed powerless to deal with xenophobic attacks.

Xenophobia: State Policy and Implemented by the Government of ANC-COSATU-SACP

The current President of the Republic, Cyril Ramaphosa, has a dirty record with numerous cases of repression against workers. Prior to being president, he had been president of the National
Congress and before had been director of the English mining company LOMIN Documents revealed by a Special Commission of Inquiry that investigated the Marikana massacre show that
the order to crack down on strinking miners came from Ramaphosa. The result was the cold and unpunished murder of 34 workers. The crakdown by assault cars, heavily armed men,
helicopters, military officers commanding the operation was promoted and funded by the South African state as read in emails exchanged between then LOMIN director Ramaphosa and the
country’s police authorities. The murder of these 34 workers was not a situation that got out of hand. It was premeditated as 4 mortuary vans were sent to the site before the shooting.

Xenophobia: A Preventive Policy

Jacob Zuma’s presidential term was interrupted by the National Congress chaired by Ramaphosa who is from the same party as Zuma. The president of Congress took over the presidency and in
May this year, in the presidential elections, he was elected president. Despite all the wear and tear of the ANC-COSATU-SACP, they won the election with 57.5% of the votes. The elected
government has built an important agreement involving the various sectors.

The agreement was signed involving unions and the so-called progressive parties. But that, they know, is not enough. The effects of the crisis must be minimized and the formula chosen was to create a climate of fear, violence and death among the 7% of refugees living in the country. This is the explanation for the xenophobic policy that has been applied for many years and has
gained new momentum with the announced economic recession in South Africa combined with the global economic crisis.

The reaction in the countries of origin

In several countries, there were major demonstrations, and attacks on property and vehicles that were traveling to South Africa. In Mozambique, 300 trucks were stopped at the border,
causing an estimated loss of more than $ 1 million a day. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, facilities in South African capital’s chain of clothing stores were looted. In Ghana,
Zimbabwe and Zambia, there were attacks on South African companies.

The most striking answer came from Nigeria where the people took to the streets and in media interviews they clearly said they would destroy the facilities of the Shoprite and Pick n Pay
supermarket chains, as well as the South African-owned telephone company MTN. Even the country’s embassy in Abuja, Nigeria was closed for fear of being attacked.

[1] BIG BROTHER EXPOSED – Stories of South Africa’s intelligence structures, monitoring and harassing
activists movements.