by Ann Garrison

South Africa is home to African political refugees and migrants seeking work from all over the African continent and, as in Europe and North America, immigrants are targets of xenophobia, harassment, intimidation, immigrant police sweeps and even geopolitically motivated attacks. On Friday, Dec. 20, members of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s immigrant community in Johannesburg contacted KPFA Radio to say that South Africa’s African National Congress government had instructed their police to arrest Congolese immigrants in Yeoville and other Johannesburg suburbs.

On Sunday, Jan. 22, South Africa’s Amandla! Alternative Media Collective put out a release calling on activists to appear at a Johannesburg magistrate’s court the next morning to support 200 Congolese immigrants who were, they said, “hounded out of their shops and homes by scores of South African police, then summarily arrested on ludicrous, trumped up charges of ‘public violence.’”

Amandla! Media also said that many of those arrested are activists opposed to the Kabila regime in their home country. They had gathered in front of the ruling African National Congress Party’s headquarters in December to protest South African President Jacob Zuma’s collaboration with Congolese President Joseph Kabila in stealing the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of November. International observers, including the EU and the Carter Center, and Congo’s Catholic Church, agreed that the election was not only chaotic but also massively fraudulent.

Two hundred Congolese immigrants, especially activists opposed to the Kabila regime, were, they said, “hounded out of their shops and homes by scores of South African police, then summarily arrested on ludicrous, trumped up charges of ‘public violence.’”

After the mass arrests on Thursday, the South Africa Police Service publicly stated that their operation had been an illegal immigrant sweep, but they later said, instead, that they had arrested Congolese factions supporting Kabila and his leading challenger, Étienne Tshisikedi, for fighting with one another in Johannesburg streets. Amandla! Media said that both explanations were preposterous.

Jean-Pierre Lukamba, chair of the African Diaspora Forum, Amnesty International activist and Congolese refugee in South Africa, has been in hiding since Thursday, but available to press by phone. He said that there are roughly half a million Congolese refugees in the country and that the majority are political refugees who fled for their lives. He also said that although Thursday’s arrests were far more than an immigrant sweep, the ANC government is indeed guilty of mistreating immigrants, most of all those from other parts of Africa.

“The background of that arrest,” he said, “is that there is an organization here in South Africa called Congolese Democracy and Justice Campaign. They are campaigning for democracy and justice in Congo and last time they went to Capetown, they were doing a march. They went to the head office of the ANC to protest because there is evidence that President Jacob Zuma is supporting Joseph Kabila to stay in power by frauding the election.”

Kimbi Mayimona of the Forum of Congolese Organizations in South Africa said that no Kabila supporters had been arrested and that a leader of a pro-Kabila organization had been at the police station identifying those to be held and those to be released.

Shortly before the Democratic Republic of Congo’s November election, Jacob Zuma announced his support for Kabila and their agreement on a deal to transmit hydroelectricity to South Africa from the expansion of Congo’s Grand Inga Dam. The power had previously been promised to Australian mining corporation BHP Billiton to power an aluminum smelter in Congo’s Bas Congo Province.

News24-Cape Town reported on Nov. 12 that Zuma publicly promised Kabila “logistical and security support to help the DRC during its forthcoming elections” at the signing of the deal to transmit hydroelectric power from Congo to South Africa.

Monday’s news from South Africa:

1) Two of 22 Congolese immigrants still in custody have been released.

2) Twenty will remain in custody until a bail hearing on Jan. 31, 2012. This will give the arresting officers time to check with the Department of Homeland Affairs to see if their papers are in order.

3) Congolese began to share this video of Zuma at COP17, the climate change conference, in December lecturing that Congolese must not blame other people for their problems and protest in South Africa. In the same speech, he bragged of South Africa’s involvement in the First and Second Congo Wars and its critical role in “saving democracy” in Congolese elections, including the November election declared hugely fraudulent by even the most conservative establishment observers.

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News, the Newsline EA (East Africa) and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, Weekend News on KPFA and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at ann@afrobeatradio.com. 

 

21 COMMENTS

  1. ZUMA made feel so sick for his support to cheating, criminal and non competent Kabila. It’s so sad to have such leaders in Africa

  2. Liars and killers act like human in public. Zuma is a disgrace for South Africa. You can hide but will never be able to run. Keep lying to South African, but they will end up knowing your deals with Kabila. Congolese Elected Tshisekedi as president however you are one of those who are trying hard to keep Kabila in power when he does not even qualify to be a restaurant manager. It’s a shame and you are simply a sneak, evil man. You think you know the principle of Democratie better than millions of Congolese? Liar…

  3. I believe South Africa deserves than this attitude of ZUMA
    I am still shocked on his attitude towards Africa. South Africa should not behave like the West, instead we should look forward building this abused Continent

  4. I would like to reply to President Zuma's intervention and clarify a few points. We are not againt South Africa and we do not undermine South Africa's efforts to accompany the DRC in its struggle for democracy. What we are against with is that stingy politics which is benefiting not to all South African citizens but to some individuals, especially the current ruling power. President Zuma says Congolese must not blame other people for their problems. But why is he getting much involved in supporting the current power in the DRC which was not elected and cheated on people? Why is he sending mercenaries in the DRC to kill quit people who are claiming their will to be respected?

  5. If President Zuma really wants to help the DRC, he has to tell Kabila to step down because he was not elected. Furthermore, I am surprised to hear President Zuma saying that Congolese must not protest here in South Africa. The question I would like to ask him is, "where were you, Mr president when you were fighting apartheid system?" During that time, believe me, if you were here in South Africa, we would not know you because they would have killed you. Congolese people are here because Kabila is a killer. That is why they can't stay in the DRC. We also have to call to our mind DRC's (former Zaire) contribution in fighting apartheid in Soutn Africa. I invite you to review Mobutu's speech in United Nations Conference in 1973. Dear president, it is time for you to change your mind and choose the way of reason. Please support Congolese effort towards democracy and good governance and stop threatening their lives here in South Africa, In doing so, you will help them to create a safe and peaceful environment in the DRC that will enable them to go back to their country and participate in its contruction. Thank you.

  6. Shame on you Zuma. You gotta learn to be thankful to those who supported ANC militants during the Apartheid era in South Africa.
    I cannot beleive that you support Kanambe, a former cab driver in Tanzania. Come on Zuma! Are you okay?

  7. Zuma was accused by the member of his own party of corruption some times back. Now we discover that he is doing mining (oil) in Congo through his brother to cover up. we will punish him up to impeachment.

  8. Zuma is shortminded.he thinks Appartheid is dead,while it is just sleeping.he is cutting a tree branch he is sitting on,because when Appartheid wakes up he will have nowhere to run to.he should make sure demorcacy rule takes place in Africa ,instead of having double standard attitude.he is always crying about the death and removal of Kadaffi as if the last had been elected by Lybians. he befriends Kagame inspite of millions of people he killed.in breaf, Zuma is ungreateful.

  9. NOO,THESE DARKER-HUE FOREIGN NATIONALS IN SOUTH AFRICA ARE MERCENARIES WHO ARE BUSSED,TRAINED IN MILITARY DIRTY TRICKS,SPONSORED BY THE FORMER COLONIALISTS OF THE CONTINENT AND WHO NOW CALL THEMSELVES HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS,MISSIONARIES,INVESTORS,ETC TO COME AND DESTABILISE THE BLACKS INCLUDING THE BLACK GOVERNMENT AND THIS INCLUDES SLAUGHTERINGS AND PERSECUTION!BLACK NUMBERS OF SOUTH AFRICANS HAVE GONE DOWN BY EIGHTEEN MILLION BECAUSE PART OF THEIR DIRTY TRICKS ITS TO CREATE INFERTILITIES HENCE THE ANBSENCY OF YOUTHS WHERE THE AVAILABLE YOUTHS ITS GANGSTERS BECAUSE PART OF THEIR DESTABILISATION TACTICS ITS TO GANGSTERISE THE YOUTHS.THESE SHOPS THEY BOASST ABOUT ITS MONEY LAUNDERING DEN AND WERE TAKEN FROM SOUTH AFRICANS OR WOMEN WERE CLEANED-OUT AND MONEY USED TO START THESE SHOPS WHERE CRIMES LIKE ROBBERIES,RAPES,ABDUCTIONS,MURDERS ARE HAPPENING INSIDE DUE TO POOR POLICING!WHEN THEY SEE COPS WHO LOOK LIKE THEY`RE INVESTIGATING OR MONITORING THEY RUN AND LEAVE THOSE UNDER AGE GIRLS THEY`RE ENSLAVING THERE AFTER ABDUCTING THEM TO FACE THE MUSIC!

    YES,IF ZUMA IS UNILATERALLY AND BIASEDLY INVOLVED IN THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF ANOTHER COUNTRY HE`S GUILTY AND SHOULD BE CHARGED AT THE ICC BECAUSE THIS IS AN ACT OF AGGRESSION CRIME!

  10. to prove thaqt these foreign nationals are here in south africa is their running to the unmonitored security guard companies and then start to bully black south africans in a very racial approach like chasing them away from certain areas,framing them with crimes they or their homeboys committed,takingthem away and making them to disappear!

  11. THIS ROBERTM FROM ZAMBIA , I SUB MMITED A DOCUMENT CONTAING BASIC INFORMATION ON THE FOUNDATION OF LAWS AND HUMAN RIGHTTHERE HAS BN ALWYS CONFLIC ARISIN BECOZ NOT UNDERSTAND POWERS STATE POWRS OF LAWS AND INDIVIDUAL POWER BASED ON INDIVIDUAL ABILITY,, WT TRIGERD THE WRK IS POLITICAL ACTS BASED ON CADRISM , AS A REULT OF EMBARCKING ON MEASURES OF CONTROLLING THE WRLD POPULATION,WHICH CREATED NAGETIVE IMPACT IN WRLD ECONOMY DEPENDENCY SYDROMY,KILLING OF INNOCENT SOULS , INCREASED ON NUMBERS OF PEOPLE NT WORKING ,OVERPOWERING STATE POWERS OF LAWS THE Y WANTED TO TAKE OVER STATE POQWERS LAW BRKERS FRM ROBERT MUSHINGWA

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