On Sunday, the Greater Carletonville branch of the Orlando Pirates Supporters’ Club held a march in Carletonville against the xenophobic attacks that have rocked the country.
“We condemn the killing of foreign nationals in the strongest possible terms,” the club’s treasurer, Mr Lucas Mojaki, said.
The march started at the club’s headquarters at the Chicago Bar and Restaurant in Emerald Street. From here, the Pirates were joined by foreign nationals from Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Uganda, Lesotho, Botswana, Somalia, Swaziland, Algeria and Mozambique as well as some from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The group of about 200 people proceeded down Amethyst, Osmium and Zeolite street to the Carletonville taxi rank and then back up Ada Street to the Carletonville Police Station. Here, the group sang the national anthem before continuing to their starting point.
“We are appealing to Merafong Municipality, led by our beloved mayor, Maphefo Leisie Mogale to organise another march with all the stakeholders in Carletonville against xenophobic attacks on our African brothers and sisters. As a branch, we are not aware of any xenophobic attacks in our area, but we are supporting the message of our president, Jacob Zuma, and the entire world. Foreign nationals are here to contribute to the growth of our economy through their skill and expertise,” said Mojaki.
“Many of our South African brothers and sisters are employed by foreign African nationals, who are thus creating jobs and putting bread on our tables. South Africa belongs to all who live in it, as it is stated in the Freedom Charter of 1955.
We also say that you are an African before you become South African. Attacks on foreign nationals are the work of criminals who want to destabilise our country. They are lazy and don’t want to work, but they expect manna from heaven, 21 years after our independence. Shame on them, they must be exposed and, if needs be, they must be sent to jail for their criminal activities. We love our country. South Africa is not a banana republic and there is no free lunch.”
“As a branch, we would like to remind South Africans that we gained liberation through the help of African countries such as Zambia, led by the late Kenneth Kaunda, Tanzania led by the late Julius Nyerere and Zimbabwe led by Robert Mugabe, to name but a few. We therefore urge all South Africans, whether in their homes, churches, stokvels, societies, schools, preschools, hospitals, prisons, home based centres or government institutions, to educate their members and refrain from attacking foreign nationals physically, emotionally and socially.
Our Carletonville branch has ten registered, card-carrying members from other African countries who are die-hard fans of the Orlando Pirates Football Club that is currently playing in the CAF Champions League against other African teams,” the Pirates’ spokesperson concluded.
The Pirates were not the only ones to make their voices heard against xenophobia over the past week. In the special council meeting of 30 April, the Merafong City municipal council also signed a pledge against xenophobia.