Activists from organisations such as AIDS lobby group the Treatment Action Campaign and access to information non-profit the Right2Know Campaign, canvassed Gandhi Square in central Johannesburg yesterday to drum up support for the protest expected to take place tomorrow.
Former COSATU Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi also joined activists and pledged his support for tomorrow’s march, which will begin at 1 pm* at Hillbrow’s Pieter Roos Park. Vavi said that he hoped the march would prompt many South Africans to reflect about the real, underlying causes of social ills like unemployment instead of scapegoating foreigners.
Recent research by the fact-checking organisation AfricaCheck found that contrary to popular claims that “foreigners were stealing jobs,” foreign migrants represented just four percent of the formal workforce.
Executive Director of the public interest non-profit Section27 Mark Heywood said that he hoped the march will bring peace to the country following a recent spate of attacks blamed for the deaths of at least seven people.
“We cannot sit back watching while people are dying in a manner that has no justice and that violates human dignity by undermining the Constitution of this country,” Heywood told OurHealth. “We will stand together to say no to xenophobia.”
[Updated 3:59 pm 22 April. This article originally stated that the march would begin at 11am. The march will begin at 1pm at Pieter Roos Park however the City of Johannesburg will be providing park and ride facilities from Mary Fitzgerald Square from 11am]