Codes: SAR (South Asia region), LAC (Latin America and the Carribean), ECA (Europe and Central Asia), EAP (East Asia and the Pacific), MENA (Middle East and North Africa, SSA (Sub-Saharan Africa)
Codes: SAR (South Asia region), LAC (Latin America and the Carribean), ECA (Europe and Central Asia), EAP (East Asia and the Pacific), MENA (Middle East and North Africa, SSA (Sub-Saharan Africa)

A World Bank study has drilled another hole into faulty ‘stolen jobs’ S. Africa xenophobia argument.Data increasingly shows African foreign nationals are just scapegoats for domestic socio-economic problems.

The argument by South African xenophobes following the deadly targeting of mainly African nationals has been that the foreigners are taking their jobs and competing for scarce resources.It is a view that has been tacitly supported by ruling party politicians, with some ministers saying that foreign nationals were in the country only as a “courtesy” and that they should share their business secrets if they want to prevent attacks and looting.

On the face of it the figures add up: the official South African unemployment rate is 24%, rising to 50% among young people, and one fifth of the population of 54 million survive on less than 335 rand ($28) a month.

Nowhere is it more expensive than in sending money from South Africa to Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and Mozambique, the World bank noted.



The numbers of migrants also seem high: there are for example some one million Zimbabweans in South Africa, mostly illegal, making them the single biggest community of foreign nationals in the country.Other countries with significant nationals in the country are Somalia. Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, and to a smaller extent the Asian countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.

But a fact-checking article published in February debunked the claim that foreign nationals, derisorily referred by locals as “amakwerekwere” have “stolen” South African jobs.

The lie

AfricaChecks’s review, based on study numbers from the Migrating for Work Research Consortium (MiWORC), an organisation that examines migration and its impact on the South African labour market, concluded that the perception was far from the reality.

MiWORC found that 96% of the working population aged between 15 and 64 were South Africans, and only 4% could be classified as “international migrants”. Of the 33 million people captured in Statistics SA 2012 data, this meant about 1.2 million international migrants.Eight in every ten (79%) of these migrants were African, 17% white and about 3% Indian or Asian.

White foreign nationals have not been targeted.

And while international migrants were more likely to be employed than South Africans, MiWORC said this was an exception to the general rule where international migrants tend to have higher unemployment rates that locals.But the migrants in South African also tended to be in precarious employment, compared to locals, widely bereft of access to benefits or formal contracts, largely because they were more willing to take jobs that locals did not want, especially in the informal sector.

But the migrants were also far more likely to run their own businesses in South Africa, with 11% being “employers” and 21% “self-employed”. By contrast, only 5% of South Africans were employers, and only 9% of non-migrants and 7% of domestic migrants (those who move from the provinces) were self-employed.

Quoting Dr Sally Peberdy, a senior researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, AfricaCheck said that the belief that international migrants dominate the informal sector is false.

“We found that less than two out of 10 people who owned a business in the informal sector [in Johannesburg] were cross-border migrants,” Dr Peberdy said, referring to a limited study done on the informal sector in Johannesburg.

“The evidence shows that they contribute to South Africa and South Africans by providing jobs, paying rent, paying VAT and providing affordable and convenient goods.”

“Forcing” migrants to stay

But new data from the World Bank shows that despite this, the obstacles South Africa has mounted in the path of the migrants continue to be significant.

In its most recent Migration and Development Brief, the bank found that sub-Saharan Africa had the highest costs of sending remittances home in the last quarter of 2014, at 11.5% of a base $200, against an average global rate of 8%.

Nowhere was this more expensive than in sending money from South Africa to Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and Mozambique, the bank noted.

Essentially, migrants from African countries, already targeted based on wrong perceptions, are also finding it difficult to send back home the money that could uplift their struggling families, and offer them a path out of South Africa. It could be argued that because migrants can’t send their earnings out easily and cheaply, they are “forced” by government to stay to benefit from the fruits of their labour.

According to the study, South Africa also forms part of a bloc of African countries that are highly dependent on remittances which form 1% of its imports, suggesting a double standard of its shabby treatment treatment of migrants.

However, this African average has fallen from 12.6% in the fourth quarter of 2013, but it is still about double the cost of sending money home to the South Asia Region (ironically mainly Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, who are also resident in South Africa).

Tougher for Africans

So it is essentially easier and cheaper for non-African migrants to send money home from South Africa, than it is for Africans.

The study adds that remittances can be leveraged to raise billions of dollars in development financing, helping both South Africa and other African countries lift millions out of poverty. So far the South African economy has been the notable footnote to the Africa Rising view, consistently recording among the lowest growth rates of the sub-Saharan Africa countries.

The bank notes technology can help lower the costs of sending money home thus raising living levels, including through online and mobile money transfer systems, but adds that over-regulation due to money laundering concerns has slowed down up-take.

Source:Mail & Guardian Africa

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Meaning xenophobia is not as sporadic as we have been made to believe but systematic and embedded in national policy

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  2. Sure as hell very expensive sending money from South Africa to Zambia!! and a foreigners chances of getting meaningful employment in SA are as limited as those of the United States letting Al-Qaeda join the CIA….I don’t know what south africans BS about foreigners stealing their jobs! Xenophobia is also perpetuated by the south african government.In all essence South africa is hindering the development of other african countries.

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    • The excuses blaming apartheid for every failure are reaching their expiry date so the new excuse is blame the “black” foreigners. load shedding in S.A is caused by foreigners, crime its the foreigners, erectile dysfunction-foreigners, people dying after circumcision-foreigners, how did Mandela die-foreigners, my own laziness-foreigners, toll gates-foreigners, Nkandla report-foreigners, who killed Reeva Steenkamp-foreigners, why is Oscar Pretorious in prison-foreigners, who is behind the farm killings-foreigners, who sing “kill the Boer”-foreigners, who is benefiting from BEE-foreigners, who have behaved like blood thirsty savages since time immemorial-foreigners, cop suicides -foreigners, cape flats drug cartels-foreigners, bafana bafana under-performing-foreigners,…

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  3. Nice analysis. If this report is to be believed, then I don’t understand why wicked black Ass-Africans should be worried about foreigners.
    These !*****s are just lazy criminals who are targeting their anger due to poverty at the wrong people.

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  4. Why do these Africans leave their countries to come to RSA? Please we do not need you in the country. Stay in your filthy Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Congo, Zimbabwe. We have had enough of you. Leave us alone with our families to enjoy our democracy we fought for. You had yours and enjoyed. The jobs are ours and the businesses are ours. You are encroaching on our space. You are getting everywhere…..football, jobs, groceries businesess, etc.

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    • We fought for your Liberation, we shall eat the fruit of our sweat together. We aint going no where. Copy that.

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    • Because we spent billions of dollars to liberate RSA. By the way the day the white man leaves RSA, RSA will be like any other dirty African country. Already suburbs where black RSA people live are dirty like East London already when not long ago they were very clean. By the way that arrogance will let God allow a Mugabe to come to power and rundown RSA like what happened in Zim for you to learn the hard way like Zimbabweans did that no black man is superior than another black man. Zimbabweans used to think that they were super clever above other Africans but now?

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    • @ Sizwe. You are a typical example of the limited intelligence and inbreeding which pretty much covers the scope of these animals that are perpetrating these acts of violence

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    • Nigger please! Read your history and I hope you are joking out of your tush! After Africa sends you bills of the trillions that you owe us, which we spent on liberating your sorry arses while you remained caged like trapped rats in your white managed concentration camps, you will be bankrupt as a nation.

      Further, you honestly think that your uncoordinated and random acts of necklacing and dancing saved you from apartheid while Mandela sat breaking rocks in jail? I mean duh, if you believe this then you are 10 notches duller than the World imagines! South Africans, you are dull!

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    • @ Sizwe you are a Zambian pretending to be South African…shame on you…..even your grammar is typical Zambian. So stop being a smart ass and think you can full Lusaka times readers…

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    • Izwe, Sizwe whatever you call yourself Ka-N0k0 Chi…. ububi waumfwa. 1. Go tell Trevor Noah to come back from the USA first and then MAKE all S.A citizens to return from Africa, USA, Europe, UAE, Australia, New Zealand etc especially tuma waitresses na tu ma high class escorts waumfwa. 2. Compesate our losses incurred when helping ka-wiso fight for YOUR liberation 3. Bring back ALIVE all those black Africans that died on your behalf when aparthied had you by the rugby balls. 4. Repair all properties that were damaged during bombings that were targeted at black Africans haboring ANC squatters 5. Pay rentals due by ANC when they squatted in our countries (with interest) Holla when you are done so we can THEN and only then organise our boys and girls to come back

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    • Slow down and think. You seem to forget that you also have as many South Africans in those countries. In Zambia, for instance, South Africans have shops all over. Their profits are ploughed back into Zulu lands. Abnormal amounts of $. They also come with loads of Zulus as shop cleaners, jobs that should be done by our country men. Think wena mufana. Ciza uli?

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    • Sure? Sizwe do know how much your companies make from our Countries? If these citizens go back to their countries you think your Shoprite, Pep, Game, Pick N Pay and many others will have the field day in these countries?

      Think twice. Its SA to loose your economy hugely depend on these countries as market for your products and if you become funny your industries will fold and you will have more jobs lost. Next you will start killing your white brothers for closing companies!

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    • You guys fell for this? Just goes to show how volatile the situation is. Sizwe ain’t no South African

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  5. I have my doubts if Jacob Zuma and his team are fully aware of such things. That includes our own Lungu and other leaders. They are all ‘at sea’ …

    Just the other day a local post office confirmed that Zambia was not among the countries they transfer money to suggesting a virtual embargo. If you try to use the local bank account in SA for the purpose, first you must prove how you earned the money …

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  6. Zambia should re define its international policy. In doing so it should at the same time put up interventions to 1.strenthen its labour policy .2.Re Structure its economy to suit its people.3.Allow foreign investors who will accept to partner with Zambians .4.Reduce corruption and nepotism to create investor confidency.5.promote a common culture of loving to consume Zambian products and services.
    6.promote the culture and belief that hard work pays.(work like a slave and live like a king)
    My fellow Zambians this can only be fulfilled by putting up strong institutions of governance and powerful constitution.South Africa and Bostwana have fine tuning their policies to discriminate neighbors and favors its people to me its a fair deal.All governments’ first priority are its own people.

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    • mdala twatukwa kuli aba ba ndumeshesu naba nkashi shesu ku south africa. and yet id.iots like mulenga sata, bwembya chikwanda and joseph mwea are busy taking our zambian earned money to buy property in south africa. Ba mulenga sata, you mean to tell me , that you can afford suddenly to buy property in south africa only after your father became president? it doesnt make sense. You i.d.iots have stolen and are stealing from us.
      And yet the pf hooligans are like sata for president. what kind of non thinking animals are you?

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  7. THESE EVIL DOERS,WHERE WERE THEY WHEN BOTHA AND IAN SMITH OF THEN SOUTHERN RHODESIA BOMBED ZAMBIANS TO FRUSTRATE THE STRUGLE.REMEMBER ZAMBIA’S KAUNDA USED TAX PAYERS’ MONEY TO KEEP THABO MBEKIAND FAMILY,ROBERT MGABE IN ZAMBIA.JETS FROM SOUTH AFRICA KILLED INNOCENT ZAMBIANS FOR YOUR LIBERATION STRUGLE.NEIGHBOR COUNTRIES SHIELDED YOU.DO U PAY A GOOD DEED WITH A WORSE ONE?GOD WILL JUDGE U FOR TAKING THE LIFE OF INOCENT SOULS.YOUR BEHAVIOR SHOWS YO LACK OF EDUCATION.RIGHT NOW TAKE YO SMART PHONE AND GOOGLE “HOW NEIGHBORS SUFFERED TO HELP LIBERATE BLACK SOUTH AFRICANS FROM APARTHEID”.U MUST BE VERY VERY SORRY OF YOUR ACTIONS.REPENT AND WAKE UP FROM YO SLUMBER

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  8. Sizwe chi colour. Pay back our money then. Do not pass your xenophobic trucks in our countries. We will get all your shops and run them.

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  9. Zambians, please leave the south africans with their country. Foreigners are not to blame for their problems entirely. Black south africans are LAZY, very lazy. They expect everything from govt because ANC promised them; free houses, free electricity, free water, free condoms, free grants, free, free, free. I call upon all foreigners to leave south africa and see whether their conditions will improve. In facts these foreighners have contributed more to the south african economy. However, certain migrants are a danger to security in rsa; nigerians coz of drugs, zimbabweans and Mozambiquans coz of violent crime, somalians coz of alshabab.

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    • Sizwe is a loser…even real educated south africans are condemning the violence….

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  10. Am sure ANC is happy because their lazy and dull voters are blaming foreigners for unemployment, am sure in the next campaigns whoever promise to chase foreigners will be president

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