Zim truckers want to sue leaders of Operation Dudula

Legal representatives of the Zimbabwean Truckers Association say they are trying to get papers to the leaders of the Operation Dudula (‘Push away’) movement to prevent them from intimidating and harassing foreigners, but they are unable to find them.

The Dudula movement has so alarmed foreigners in South Africa that a number of African embassies have urged the government to stem a troubling xenophobic streak that has emerged in South Africa in recent months, spurred on by politicians .

“I have been instructed by the Zimbabwean Truckers Association to take legal action to challenge the harassment of foreigners during Operation Dudula,” said lawyer Simba Chitando.

“We have all seen the ugly acts of bullying, vigilance and xenophobic violence during this operation, which is targeting Zimbabwean Truckers Association members, their families and foreigners from many African countries.”

Papers ready to be served

The papers are ready to be served to the leaders of Operation Dudula, but identifying and locating them has so far been easier said than done.

The truckers’ association wants the court to ban the organizers of Operation Dudula from harassing and intimidating its members and their families.

Chitando expects a successful court decision to benefit all foreigners living in SA.

“It’s hard to understand how this group can get permission from the police to march, if it can be called a march, without details from the organizers, including their service address,” Chitando said.

The association has condemned the police’s handling of the Operation Dudula marches by failing to inform affected members of the public, including foreigners and their employers, about the details of the planned march before it takes place.

“It is impossible for the victims of this terrorizing operation, with an even more menacing name, to take steps to protect their property and evade participants in the operation.”

“Our instructions are now to take legal action against the SA Police Forces (SAPS) for failing to protect foreigners, as they are required to do, as well as their employers, during Operation Dudula.”

“No one in a constitutional democracy, in 2022, deserves to live in the fear of bandits who question South Africa’s stability as an investment destination.”

Chitando says foreigners in South Africa feel the mainstreaming of xenophobia in ways that are sometimes brutal and sometimes more subtle.

Last month, EFF president Julius Malema invaded several restaurants in the Mall of Africa in Midrand to conduct an unofficial audit of the number of foreign versus local employees in these establishments.

This seemed to contradict the EFF’s outspoken stance in favor of African immigration, although the EFF said its concern was more about the exploitation of workers and that it had not deviated from its condemnation of Afrophobia.

Calls for tougher action against illegal immigration

The Patriotic Alliance and ActionSA want to crack down on illegal immigration, and the Inkatha Freedom Party wants the employment of foreigners to be regulated.

This became a key issue during the 2021 municipal elections, where anti-immigrant groups used incendiary rhetoric and translated it into mob justice.

Human rights lawyers have condemned the intimidating tactics used by groups such as Operation Dudula, which carried out “clean-up operations” in Soweto to remove foreigners before moving them to the Joburg CBD and the suburb of Orange Grove.

The movement claims that foreigners pay no taxes and deprive locals of jobs.

Zimbabwean truck drivers working in SA say they suffered years of xenophobic abuse, in which 200 of their colleagues were killed.

Foreign truck drivers point the finger at groups such as the All Truck Drivers’ Foundation (ATDF), which has called for a ban on foreign drivers but publicly condemned violence against foreign truck drivers.

There is also a growing belief that the ANC government has done little to calm the situation. It recently terminated Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs), an effort to regularize the residency status of Zimbabweans illegally staying in SA due to political and economic instability at home.

Zimbabweans have until the end of this year to apply for alternative permits, although that case is being challenged in court by the ZEP Holders Association and nonprofit African Amity on the grounds that ZEP permit holders have a legitimate right to permanent residence. in SA .

In 2021, the government also announced plans to crack down on foreign drivers in SA.

The road haulage industry has been accused of favoring foreigners over South Africans, although the Road Freight Association points out that out of approximately 63,000 drivers in SA, only 10% are foreign.

Narius Moloto, chairman of the Pan Africanist Congress, says the government’s immigration policy is inherently xenophobic because it doesn’t handle and regulate immigration policy properly.

“Operation Dudula is a program initiated by disaffected South Africans who believe that the foreigners, especially the undocumented Africans, are taking their chances. They want to drive them out of the country,” he adds.

“In our view, it stems from the failure of government policies to properly regulate and handle immigration, including defining their rights and opportunities. In its nature it is [government policy] is xenophobic,” says Moloto.

“Other non-Africans don’t seem to be competing for the same opportunities with the rest.”

By Ciaran Ryan

This article first appeared on Moneyweb and has been republished with permission. Read the original article here.

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