Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says South Africans are not xenophobic but the economic crisis pushes them to “desperation.”
He was addressing graduates at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s spring graduation ceremony on Thursday.
I think there are some South Africans who hate people from other nations. I think there are people from other nations that hate South Africans.
But is that who we as African people are? No. South Africans are not xenophobic. It’s not denialism.Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
Mogoeng said there is a co-relation between the economic crisis of 2008 and the anti-migrant unrest at the time, and the current economic crisis and the recent similar unrest.
It is these crises that push unemployed people into “desperation,” he explained.
The tendency that springs out of any desperation was to commit crime and to commit crime against those around you.
Let us stop saying things which people will clap hands for. We’ve got problems to solve here, not to be celebrities or populists.Mogoeng Mogoeng
Naming and labelling
The Chief Justice cautioned against an inordinate focus on “naming and labelling” events instead of paying attention to the root causes of unrests.
We tend to prefer naming, labelling things. If you just label, you’ll never get to the root cause.
If you call it xenophobia, then it means all we have to focus on is the hatred that perhaps that so-and-so perhaps have for so-and-so.Mogoeng Mogoeng
He however said this does not mean that those who commit crime must not be punished.
‘Deficit of Ubuntu’
Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who received an honorary doctorate at the ceremony, added to Mogoeng’s comments.
She said the recent unrest was part of the “complex shadow of our past” that indicates a “deficit of Ubuntu.”