South Africa’s population is growing at a rate which is outstripping resources and competition for those resources is one of the major flashpoints for violence against foreigners.
The #Put South Africa First (PSAF) movement is gaining traction among South Africans who believe the government’s failure to police borders and implement immigration laws is the reason the population is growing at an excessive rate.
According to PSAF activist Onalerona Sedibe, the message was clear and aimed to give South Africans a voice, to “vent their frustrations and put pressure on the ANC-led government that has refused to enforce immigration and employment laws meant to protect South Africans”.
Sedibe said the problem was not just population growth but the government’s inability to “follow proper law and procedure”.
“Government needs to deport illegal immigrants, secure the country’s borders, hold employers accountable for employment of illegal immigrants and also prioritise SA citizens for entry-level jobs,” said Sedibe.
“We are really not asking for much, we just want the government to do what the law says. Why can’t they just abide by the law they keep enforcing on us. Why are they picking and choosing what is relevant?”
However, according to experts, while it may all boil down to population growth, no system failure was ever from one single cause, something as profound as a breakdown in service delivery was usually because of multiple interlinking issues.
Director of research and advocacy at Socio-Economic Rights Organisation Alana Potter said that there were three main reasons that services were failing was a clear indication that populations growth was a problem and that the government was struggling to keep a stride with it.
“The one problem is that the whole local government fiscal framework is premised on the idea that people can pay for services. But, in reality, people are too poor,” she said.
“The reality is that at least 50% of South Africans live below the poverty line, so they’re not getting any payment that they thought they were going to get, or that the whole framework is based on.”