ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has slammed claims his stance on immigration contributed to the death of Zimbabwean national Elvis Nyathi in Diepsloot.
The 43-year-old was killed in a mob attack last Wednesday night after a day of protests against crime and poor policing of immigration laws. No arrests have been made.
In the wake of Nyathi’s death, many, including the DA, accused Mashaba of holding immigration and political views that fuelled xenophobia.
“Populists like Mashaba are fanning the flames of xenophobia, which could lead to a repeat of last year’s riots and chaos,” said the DA.
Distinguished education professor Jonathan Jansen said Mashaba “fanned the flames of anti-immigrant hatred” and helped create the environment that led to Nyathi’s death.
In a media statement released today Zimbabwe Exiles Forum condemned Mashaba’s reckless and xenophobic sentiments “which the former Joburg mayor spews as every corner, turn and event”.
“Mashaba’s hatred of black people knows no bounds and is well documented so Elvis Nyathi’s death cannot be divorced from the ActionSA leader’s xenophobic activities,” said ZEC in a statement to South Africa Observer.
Mashaba rejected the claims, saying they were disgusting and that he has only called for the rule of law to be respected.
Mashaba also denied he was Afrophobic or xenophobic.
“The only phobia I have is the fear of the breakdown of the rule of law in SA. My call has always been for the application of the constitution as it relates to matters of illegal immigration. Those who bury their heads in the sand are complicit in the worsening of this crisis,” he said.
Mashaba said those who promote uncontrolled migration promote lawlessness.
“We must never apologise for calling for respect of the rule of law. Extremists on both sides must face the full might of the law,” he said.
Mashaba’s party said the murder of Nyathi is a stain on SA’s national conscience.
“No person deserves to die because of their perceived immigration status. Those responsible must face the full might of the law for their heinous acts.
“Our fight is with the ANC government which has allowed lawlessness to thrive in our country. They have failed to correctly document foreign nationals for decades and allowed a free-for-all at our borders. We must never scapegoat foreign nationals for the failures of the government,” said ActionSA.