SA launches Migrant Awards

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Public Enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba apologised to South Africans for last weeks power cuts.

PRETORIA – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Sunday launched the inaugural South African Migrants Awards aimed at nurturing tolerance and social cohesion following the recent spate of xenophobic violence in the country.

“The South African Migrants Awards honour and celebrate outstanding migrants who reside in South Africa, as well as South Africans working beyond the borders of the country, embodying the spirit of Ubuntu and dedicated to the development of the African continent through their work,” said Gigaba in Pretoria.

“South Africans are encouraged to support the awards and show their commitment towards creating a better society and building a united Africa by nominating individuals who have made impactful difference in their fields of expertise.”

The categories were arts and culture, business, civil society and non-governmental organisation, sport, OR Tambo and the most integrated community.

Gigaba said South Africans who are immigrants in African countries would also be honoured.

“The OR Tambo award will honour the prominent role of a distinguished South African working beyond the borders of this country to provide aid particularly in areas of need, and during times of crisis and disasters embodying the spirit of Ubuntu, ” said Gigaba.

Nominations can be sent to [email protected] before May 20, indicating the nominator’s name and email address, the nomination category, the name and surname of nominee and the reasons for the nomination.

The winners will be announced on Africa Day — May 25 at a ceremony in Johannesburg.

At least seven people were killed during incidents of xenophobic violence, aimed mainly at African migrants, in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, last month.

The South African National Defence Force has been deployed to violence hotspots to support the police.

Gigaba refuted claims by civic society and immigrants that the ongoing police raids were “state sponsored xenophobia”.

“It is inaccurate to claim that this operation is targeted at foreign nationals. In any way, the operations against undocumented migrants are an ongoing phenomenon. We have made it very clear that if you are undocumented, we will continue to repatriate those people back to their countries,” he said.

He said most of the areas raided during the multi-task operations were inhabited by South Africans mostly.

“These operations target areas which are alleged to be high crime areas. The crimes in those areas are not exclusively committed by non-South Africans. They are also committed by South Africans,” said Gigaba.

“Even when the xenophobic violence was happening in the country, there were many immigrants complaining about these groups of people that are armed as well as the fact that all immigrants were being branded as though they are involved in crime. The majority of immigrants in South Africa are not involved in any crime, of any sort.”

He said many immigrants were “unsung heroes and heroines” in South African sectors including medicine, sport and education.