South Africa’s recent elections mean coalitions local governments and increasingly competitive local politics. An already weakened bureaucracy and a near empty public purse offer few resources to politicians and parties jockeying for position and electoral advantage. To divert attention from their shortcomings, elected officials are ever more likely to scapegoat immigrants and migrants. Community leaders – elected, selected, or self-appointed – will similarly capitalise on xenophobia to their own advantage. Past experience of xenophobic violence across the country tells us this. Past experience tells us this will be deadly, destructive and further denude our country’s already faltering public institutions. As a municipality now managed by a coalition government and the city most affected by xenophobic violence, Johannesburg will not be spared. But what is to be done?
There is now need to publicly recognise the acute dangers lying ahead and find ways to navigate a fragmented and perilous political landscape. To this end, the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) and the Wits-Oxford Mobility Governance Lab is organising a civil society consultative meeting to discuss and prepare strategies for engagement with the incoming administration post recent local government elections. A new administration demands new and different forms of engagement. The meeting brings together civil society organisations working with migrants to reflect on the role the city can play in addressing migrants’ exclusion and strategies to engage with the new administration to this effect.
This consultative meeting is part of ACMS’ ongoing dialogues on ‘Governing for Urban Inclusion’. The dialogues aim to bring together relevant stakeholders within government, civil society, academia and community-based organisations to reconsider modes of interventions, theories of change, and stakeholder engagement with regard to addressing current forms of identity-based exclusion in South African cities.
Date: 30th November 2021
Time: 10:00-12:00 noon.