A politician in South Africa identified as Gayton McKenzie is currently leading a crusade against “illegal foreigners” in the country, including Nigerians further fuelling the xenophobic atmosphere.
McKenzie who is the President of South Africa’s anti-immigrant political party, Patriotic Alliance came into prominence in the early 2000’s, Nigeriabroad reports.
He is part of those who hold a narrative that foreigners are ruining his country.
McKenzie, through the Patriotic Alliance which he launched in 2013, says he is out to change things by “putting South Africans first” further putting the lives of foreigners at risk.
According to the report, just last week, McKenzie led party members to arrest a total of 67 immigrants before taking them to the police station where they are now being detained.
Members of the party earlier went on a raiding spree, carting items away from shops belonging to foreigners, saying that such items had expired. The party has vowed more raids, as many South Africans on social media cheer on and promise to vote for it.
In its reaction contained in a letter dated 18th January 2022, the Nigerian embassy in South Africa told Nigerians in the country to be vigilant amid Patriotic Alliance’s xenophobic acts.
Meanwhile, a South African “media writer” said some Somalians whose shops were invaded said some of the items the group took away had not expired. The foreigners said they kept quiet because they didn’t want to provoke an attack.
“Could the party be doing this just to secure more votes in the upcoming elections?” the writer asked, adding: “Since it (a similar move) favoured Herman Mashaba and his political party, Action SA, Patriotic Alliance political party now want to try their luck, but they are going extreme; they are also taking laws into their hands.”
For long now, immigrants have become a pawn for South African politicians seeking electoral favor, who are exploiting the public sentiment that foreigners, mostly fellow Africans, are taking away South African jobs and committing crimes.
According to Wikipedia, McKenzie travelled to many schools in South Africa during his early years as a speaker, sponsored by a security company.
He has gone on to work as a consultant in the mining industry and runs a diversified business with interests in restaurants, hotels and events venues, logistics and transport, imports, mining, energy, entertainment and events, publishing, and farming.
However, while McKenzie is causing further tension at the expense of foreigners in South Africa, the report said there are still South Africans that respect and love their fellow African siblings. One of them is Julius Malema, who refused to denounce fellow Africans for votes.
“Someone said to me ‘if you want us to vote for you in 2024 you must abandon this thing of foreigners,’” Malema said in a video chat last November.
“I’m prepared to go home. I’m fine. I will never take a platform and denounce Africans. I will never do it. If it means votes are going, let them go. But to take a platform and please the White minority by pointing a finger at other fellow Black brothers, I’m not going to do that. When I see a Nigerian or a Zimbabwean or a Congolese or Ghanaian, I see myself.”