As the country recovers from the recent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, department of home affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Sunday launched the inaugural South African Migrants Awards aimed at nurturing tolerance and social cohesion.
“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 an 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.
South Africans are encouraged to support the South African Migrants Awards and show their commitment towards creating a better society and building a united Africa by nominating individuals who have made an impactful difference in their field of expertise, in 1 of the below 6 categories:
- Arts and Culture
- Civil Society and non-government organisation
- OR Tambo
- Most Integrated Community
To nominate, individuals are encouraged to send the following details to SAmigrantawards@dha.gov.za before 20 May
(In not more than 250 words, include how the Nominee has demonstrated meeting and exceeding category requirements)
The winners will be announced on Africa Day — May 25 at a ceremony in Johannesburg.
The South African National Defence Force has been deployed to violence hotspots to support the police.
Gigaba rebutted 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.
Gigaba alluded that each of the six category winners will nominate a charity of their choice to receive a cash prize of R100 000 as part of building an integrated, unified and caring South African society.