ActionSA has done exceptionally well in Gauteng and other parts of KZN, with its promise to decisively tackle the “broken window” syndrome in downtown Johannesburg, the degradation of Hilbrow and its surroundings and parts of downtown Durban.

They promised to tackle the problem of illegal immigrants and the influx of foreigners into the city center and foreign strongholds and to stop the growing crime.

The truth, of course, is that ActionSA will not be able to solve a problem as complex and multi-layered as immigration, nor will it be able to solve the “broken window” problem that plagues many high-rise buildings. in and around Hillbrow.

Rulers far more talented and courageous than Mashaba and his minions have not been able to solve the immigration challenge. More developed countries, be it America or Italy, have come to accept that there is no force, wall or alarmism that can stand in the way of human will to seek a new and better start in a new country.

The first problem is that not only do the citizens of other African countries think that South Africa offers them prospects for a better life, but their leaders also think that South Africa has better resources and better capacity. to bear a greater burden of the continent’s problems and this affects leaders deeply when their citizens are driven out of South Africa or fall victim to victimization and xenophobia.

An ambassador from an African country based here in South Africa once told South African officials that he has compassion for our country because when all those African citizens who are in South Africa cross over to other country, they are not arrested if they say they are heading south. Africa because there is a general belief among authorities in other African countries that South Africa has better resources to solve the problems of these people.

In 2013, at a SADC meeting just after the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, Robert Mugabe, then President of Zimbabwe, visited town at the meeting criticizing Jacob Zuma, then President of Africa. South for not doing enough to protect the millions of its citizens who now live in South Africa. If South Africa hoped for the sympathy of Zimbabwe and other African countries to transport millions of their citizens and cause tension and resource contestation in parts of South Africa, no such support is came, but an attack on our president.

Only the president of Botswana stood up and berated Mugabe for his attack on Zuma. Seretse Khama, then president of Botswana, instead overthrew the other African presidents. “South Africa is not a provider of jobs for the continent,” Khama said. “And if we solved our own problems in our own countries, South Africa would not be strained by the citizens of our own countries.”

This means that most African leaders do not believe that South Africa lacks the capacity to transport the millions of their citizens and when some of their citizens are turned away from South Africa or when the unfortunate events of xenophobic attacks occur, there is a desire to retaliate against South Africa. This is where Mashaba will learn the hard way that immigration of citizens does not happen in isolation and that any reactionary attitude in its management will trigger a chain reaction with other African countries which could cause more devastation. that cannot yet be measured.

This is what happened when Nigerian leaders and their citizens decided to teach South Africa a lesson in Nigeria by attacking South African companies and threatening to sever ties with the country if their people was dying of hatred in South Africa. Companies like MTN and Shoprite have been vandalized and destroyed in retaliation for the treatment of Nigerians in South Africa.

Africa has come a long way in building rebirth and unity of purpose. The lack of diplomacy and respect in dealing with Africans has the potential to collapse other fragile areas of relations into a larger vision of building one Africa.

In the early 90s, Hillbrow was a vibrant melting pot of diverse people, artists, entrepreneurs, club owners, writers and intellectuals of all races, cultures and beliefs. It was a place where all young people wanted to be. Afrikaner intellectual Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert owned an apartment there, Thabo Mbeki lived there briefly, the larger-than-life General Manager of Spies and Dead, Vusi Mavimbela also lived there briefly.

Such places, as happened in the ancient cities which were crucibles, are unpretentious and non-judgmental, where people can come to be remade and be free without standing out to attract thousands of people, some with good intentions, others coming to hide from infirmities. Soon fraudsters, jailers, crooks, charlatans find themselves able to exist in this place without feeling alienated and invisible.

Since the 1990s in South Africa were the time of change, with a third of the population moving from rural areas to urban centers in just over a decade, places like Hillbrow have become the most popular havens. more obvious to the millions of people entering. It was a place of hipsters and students, where you didn’t need a lot of money to exist. It was also convenient, a stone’s throw from Johannesburg’s central business district. If you had a dream Hillbrow was where you wanted to be.

In such a large influx, space is tight and opportunities are diminishing as well. Petty crime is starting to be regular and the free spirit of the melting pot is replaced by caution, fear and an implosion that pushes all the good people away and leaves those with no way forward and those whose hustle and bustle depends on the very environment of Hillbrow. it’s decaying. These involve the multiplication of charismatic churches on every street corner, some even above nightclubs.

Even foreigners, whether legal or illegal, find places like Hillbrow, Yeoville, and Berea to be perfect havens for people with little livelihood, but who want to be closer to opportunity. Such people flood these areas until only they exist, turning them into cities of sin for the poor, drinking haunts, clubs, crime, drugs and some who think they can save others.

With such people left behind in Hillbrow and the surrounding area, a broken window goes unmatched, then the door, then the whole building. Street children settle there, thugs seize it and use it for their criminal enterprise, prostitution, human trafficking, drugs, then the whole community is in a state of disrepair.

The truth about immigration is that most of the citizens are in neighboring countries. There may be a lot of media coverage of immigrants crossing the oceans to seek greener pastures in the west or in more developed countries like South Africa, but statistics show that more than two-thirds of immigrants move to countries neighboring theirs. This is true of course because most African immigrants do not have a lot of resources and move mainly due to lack of opportunities in their own country and cannot really afford to move miles away to distant countries. .

South Africa is therefore not special and the fact that there are mostly Zimbabweans in our country is because we are their immediate neighbors. Other African countries are home to many immigrants from their neighbors. So there is nothing that connects immigration, legal or not, to decaying cities. Hillbrow and the surrounding area, following the abolition of the Group Areas Act and the removal of flood control, was also a strategic area for residents migrating from rural areas to urban centers.

The first thing we need is public education of all by-laws and broad participation so that all residents of these neighborhoods take ownership of the law enforcement and management of their neighborhoods. Most people in Hillbrow don’t like the rot around them, but they probably don’t think the local government cares anyway.

It will not be Mashaba’s machismo and harsh rhetoric that will solve the problem. Mashaba has been mayor for a few years and other than harassing one or two street traders and getting his 15 seconds of fame, the problem is as serious as it was.

What will solve the problem is partnering with the people so that the police are not seen as an answer to societal problems, but as partners dealing with the impact of ordinary people trying to survive in a harsh world. and ruthless.

ActionSA will not be there in the next election, and their lives will be as short as Trump’s because they are going the wrong way of history.

Most South Africans love to see African foreign nationals succeed in South Africa. We are happy to see them start businesses, buy houses and cars, and take care of their families. He tells us that as long as South Africa is a beacon of hope for them to dream of a new life and to reinvent themselves, the chances that they have to beat in their respective countries to survive are much more anchored in the hope for a better life in South Africa.

As South Africans we are proud to be the shining star over Africa and I hope that as long as we continue to shine no African will get lost.

Let no man in Africa lose hope while South Africa lives.