South Africa’s deputy police minister Bongani Mkongi once remarked that it is “dangerous” that a South African city was “80% foreign”.
Mkongi at a press conference in 2017, said it was “dangerous” that one whole South African “city” was now “80% foreign nationals”. If South Africa did not debate that problem, the whole of South Africa could one day become foreign and the future president of South Africa could be a foreigner.
Mkongi was quoted in the media accusing foreign nationals in Hillbrow and surrounding suburbs of economic sabotage. He claimed 80 percent of Hillbrow and surrounding areas was occupied by foreign nationals, the majority of whom he said were engaged in various forms of crime like hijacking of buildings and illegal trade.
Areas such as Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville are known to accommodate foreigners from countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana, among others. The statement by the Deputy Minister was viewed as promoting xenophobia with many foreign nationals blaming him for what they viewed as a “reckless” statement.
“We are surrendering our land,” Mkongi added, accusing foreigners of “economic sabotage.”.
The 80% foreign national “city” he referred to, it emerged, was Hillbrow, a suburb of Johannesburg, and its surrounding areas.
Daily Maverick was originally told by the ambassadors that Mkongi had made the remarks last month. In fact, he made them in 2017. But one of the ambassadors said the video of Mkongi’s remarks was still viral and so was still inciting xenophobia. This was why they had asked the government on Monday to deal with the issue.