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Experts warn political parties against exploiting xenophobia for votes

The Scalabrini Centre has held a discussion around migration issues and challenges foreign nationals encounter daily.

Immigration experts sat down to discuss recent attacks on foreign nationals and warned politicians against blaming them for issues in the country. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - With the general elections less than a month away, immigration experts are concerned about politicians using migration and xenophobia as a tool to gain votes.

The Scalabrini Centre has held a discussion around migration issues and challenges foreign nationals encounter daily.

It included the African Centre for Migration and Society and the UCT Refugee Rights Unit.

Civil organisations are appealing to politicians to get their facts straight and not to scapegoat forced migrants, refugees and asylum seekers for any failings in the country.

Experts made an example of Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi blaming foreign nationals for problems facing the country's healthcare.

Scalabrini's Sandy Hurts says: “We are mindful that irresponsible comments by political figures and electioneering about this can cause real harm.”

Tinashe Njanji is a Zimbabwean concerned about xenophobic attacks in the country.

“We need to deal with the cause of xenophobia, like capitalism.”

The discussion noted migration is a key issue in the 2019 elections with many political parties calling for tougher measures to manage migration.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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