THEORISING AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS AS THE THREATENING OTHER

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CHAPTER 3: MIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION TRAJECTORIES

INTRODUCTION

A detailed background to this study, which examines the history, trends and trajectories of the migration and immigration debate in South Africa, will achieve two goals. The first is to further provide a frame for this work and link with the concepts and contexts raised in the previous chapter. The second is to set a foundation on which the case of African immigrants and the deconstruction of the threatening other can be based. In this regard, this chapter discusses the pre- and post-1994 migration and immigration dynamics in order to locate the case of African immigrants generally and that of traders in the Johannesburg inner city specifically.

 PRE-1994 IMMIGRATION TRAJECTORIES

Immigration trends: 1910-1948

Foreign migration into South Africa has a long history, especially that of labour migration. The South African migrant labour system started at the turn of the nineteenth century (Richmond 1994; Sinclair 1998, 1999; Campell 2010). By 1910, 24 years after the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand and diamonds in Kimberley, there was a huge need for labour (Jevees 1985; Parnwell 1993; Manghezi 1998; Crush and McDonald 2001). This created the demand for migrant labour whose source was within South Africa, beyond its borders (more specifically southern Africa) and even China between 1904 and 1906 (Jeeves 1985).
Peberdy (1998) observes that at the beginning of the last century, there were various Immigration Acts or regulatory instruments which were designed to manage and control immigration into South Africa. This move was based on increasing numbers of people who desired to immigrate into South Africa. These Acts included the 1913 Immigrants Regulation Act, the 1930 Immigration Quota Act and the 1937 Aliens Control Act, which provided a base to subsequent immigration laws (Peberdy 1998). Despite the fact that during the apartheid years there were changes to these laws, the legislation ‘reflected the centralisation of state power, eroded further the already minimum rights of immigrants; continued to entrench the contract labour system and was increasingly directed at the control of non-white regional immigrants’ (Peberdy 1998:192).
Peberdy and Crush (1998) note that the first national immigration law was the Immigration Regulation Act of 1913, because each province had its own laws before the Union of South Africa in 1910. The Act of 1913 gave the Immigration Board and Immigration Officers substantial power on immigration matters (Peberdy and Crush 1998). On the strength of the Act of 1913, European immigrants were welcome but the number of Indians was controlled, because, after the indentured labourers from India came to South Africa from about 1850, there was the feeling that more Indians were not good for South Africa (Peberdy and Crush 1998). Furthermore, the Act of 1913 also limited the internal migration of black people, as they were not viewed as South African citizens, a situation, which, from the point of view of the state, necessitated monitoring and regulation (Peberdy and Crush 1998). Although there were amendments to the Act of 1913, these did not detract from the primary purpose; if anything, the subsequent amendments strengthened the Act of 1913 (Peberdy and Crush 1998).
Furthermore, the increased numbers of Eastern European immigrants to South Africa after World War One and the fact that more Indians and poor whites managed to enter South Africa in spite of the 1913 Immigrants Regulation Act, provided the foundation for the 1930 Immigration Quota Act (Peberdy 1998; Peberdy and Crush 1998). This Act was intended to exclude the immigration of Jews into South Africa because they were regarded as a menace to the South African state since they were not the appropriate white immigrants (Peberdy 1998; Peberdy and Crush 1998). This Act also prescribed the number of immigrants who were eligible to enter South Africa from certain countries (Peberdy and Crush 1998).
Subsequently, there was the Immigration Amendment Act of 1937 which amended the 1913 Immigrations Regulation Act by strengthening the powers of immigration officers regarding who could and could not be admitted into South Africa (Peberdy and Crush 1998). This Immigration Act also allowed for the recruitment of migrant workers from outside South Africa (Peberdy and Crush 1998; Peberdy 1998).
The Aliens Act of 1937 followed the Immigration Amendment Act of 1937 to promote the exclusion of Jewish immigrants into South Africa. This was ‛the first time the word alien was entrenched in legislation and public discourse to describe unwanted immigrants. The act defined an alien as a person who was not a ‘natural born British or not a Union subject’ (Peberdy and Crush 1998:26). This Act allowed for the establishment of an Immigration Selection Board that had authority to offer or deny permanent residence (Peberdy and Crush 1998).
The 1937 Aliens Act was followed by the Aliens Registration Act of 1939, which was designed to select immigrants (Peberdy 1998). The Aliens Registration Amendment Act of 1949 emphasised the 1939 Act by strengthening the monitoring of immigrants (Peberdy and Crush 1998). The immigration trend in South Africa up to the 1940s suggests that it was racist and selective. Immigration officers and the police were given excessive powers and ‘immigration was a “white issue”… immigrants were by definition white… the government distinguished between desirable and undesirable whites in formulating its policies’. Blacks from outside South Africa were not included in the immigration policy because they were temporary sojourners who would go back to their homes (Peberdy and Crush 1998:29).

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 Immigration trends: 1948-1994

When the National Party came into power in 1948, immigration policies were amended to conform to the new dispensation. Brownell (1985) argues that after 1948, immigration policy in South Africa reflected the conflict between Afrikaans and English speaking whites. This was evidenced by the National Party government of the day making every effort to reverse the previous immigration policy that had actively encouraged the British to immigrate to South Africa and focused instead on encouraging more German and Dutch immigrants. The previous immigration Acts of 1913, 1930 and 1937 were amended to be in line with this political reality (Peberdy and Crush 1998:29; Wa Kabwe-Segatti 2006).
It must be noted that during the apartheid years, the Immigration Board and officials had complete power over immigration issues, including monitoring immigrants and determining permanent residences for them (Peberdy and Crush 1998). Those who were admitted into South Africa were strictly followed (Peberdy and Crush 1998), which resulted in the requirement for people to carry identity documents wherever they went, and for black South Africans passbooks laws were enforced (Peberdy and Crush 1998). Over the years, many amendments were made to the 1913, 1930 and 1937 Acts to consolidate government control of immigration. These included the 1972 Admission of Persons to the Republic Regulations Act, the Aliens Amendment Act of 1978 and the Aliens and Immigration Laws Amendment Act of 1984, which, like other amendments, enabled the state to carefully follow who entered South Africa and the nature of their employment (Peberdy and Crush 1998; Wa Kabwe-Segatti 2006).
Another important amendment was the Temporary Removal of Restrictions on Economic Activity (Act 87 of 1986). On the strength of this Act, non-whites were now eligible for temporary and permanent residence permits. The 1986 Act was followed in 1991 by the Aliens Control Act 96 (Act 96 of 1991). The Aliens Control Act provided further relaxation of the control of migrant labour into South Africa, but racist provisions were still in force (Peberdy 1998), such that the rights of immigrants, especially the black foreign nationals, were not protected (Peberdy 1998; Peberdy and Crush 1998; Crush and McDonald 2001).
What is clear is that the rights of immigrants, especially those considered undesirable by the current political regime were not respected. However, it must be emphasised that all black immigrants were treated in the same way before 1994. Black South Africans were treated as migrants and expected to go back to their homes in the then ‘black’ homelands once they had outlived the labour service needs in ‘white’ South Africa. Black workers from the rest of Africa were not treated any differently (Peberdy and Crush 1998). The following section will explore the immigration realities after 1994. This will assist in locating the origins and genesis of hostility to the black African immigrants by South African citizenry because, as Peberdy and Crush (1998) argue, South Africa`s immigration regulation is anchored in its history.

 Immigration trajectories after 1994

Post-apartheid South Africa`s immigration regime reflected apartheid immigration controls until the Immigration Act of 2002 (Act 13 of 2002) (Crush et al. 2006) was passed. There was a belief that a deliberate policy to encourage immigration and the import of labour would threaten the interests of the new dispensation (Crush and McDonald 2001; Crush et al. 2006). Immigration policy changes appear to suggest this thinking (Peberdy and Crush 1998).
A clear example is the Aliens Control Amendment Act of 1995 (Act 76 of 1995), which generally retained restrictionist apartheid policies – for example substitution of Section 44 of Act 96 of 1991, as amended by Section 9 of Act 3 of 1993 (Act 76 of 1995). The same argument can be made about the amendment of Section 10 of Act 96 of 1991, as amended by Section 9 of Act 3 of 1993 (Act 76 of 1995), which seem to have been stringent. This is not very different to the apartheid years when, as noted by Peberdy (1998), the Immigration Boards and officials had power to allow or deny potential immigrants entry into South Africa. Consequently, this generally implies that in the 1990s, the Aliens Control Act of 1991 (Act 96 of 1991) guided immigration policy (Peberdy and Crush 1998), suggesting that the fundamental problems of discrimination against foreign nationals remained (Schulze 2002) as a result of various impediments to the legal recognition and encouragement for the presence of immigrants in South Africa.
The major Immigration Act which replaced the Aliens Control Act of 1991 (Act 96 of 1991) was the Immigration Act of 2002 (Act 13 of 2002). This Immigration Act reads differently from Act 96 of 1991 and its amendment (Act 76 of 1995) by its use of the word ‘foreigner’ in place of ‘alien’, as categorically stated in its preamble; ‘In providing for the regulation of admission of foreigners to, their residence in, and their departure from the Republic and for matters connected therewith, the Immigration Act aims at setting in place a new system of immigration control which ensures that…’ (Act 13 of 2002:3). This seems to repeal the provisions of the Aliens Control Act of 1991.
The Immigration Act of 2002 (Act 13 of 2002, Sections 26 and 27) also claims to facilitate and simplify the granting of permits, as well as encouraging skilled foreign people to immigrate to South Africa. In addition the Immigration Act of 2002 – as amended by Immigration Act of 2004 (Act 19 of 2004), which came into operation in July 2005 – states that ‘xenophobia is prevented and countered both within Government and civil society, a human rights based culture of enforcement is promoted, civil society is educated on the rights of foreigners and refugees’ (Act 19 of 2004:4). Thus, it is necessary to comment on the Immigration policy directions after 2005.
A review of Immigration Acts and Amendment Bills between 2007 and 2014 generally suggest that the South African state, while making the commitment to the efficient processing of permits to foreigners, seems at the same time to be tightening conditions on the same. It is relevant at this stage to focus on these Immigration Acts and Amendment Bills. The Immigration Amendment Act of 2007 (Act 3 of 2007) was enacted to amend the Immigration Act of 2002 (Act 13 of 2002) as amended by Immigration Amendment Act, 2004 (Act 19 of 2004), ‛so as to define certain words and to substitute a definition, to provide for the clarification and revision of procedures and permits with regard to admission to, residence in and departure from the Republic, to effect certain technical correctness’ (Act 3 of 2007:2). Generally, this Immigration Act (Act 3, of 2007), outlines several amendments, but what seems to emerge is the desire to tighten the admission of foreigners into South Africa. For example, amendment of Section 27 of Act 13 of 2002, as substituted by Section 28 of Act 19 of 2004, states that the application for permits must fall ‛within yearly limits of available permits prescribed for each sector of industry’ (Act 3 of 2007:6). What is implied here is the desire of the South African government through the immigration procedure to limit the entry of foreigners into South Africa.

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CHAPTER 1: AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS IN CONTEMPORARY SOUTH AFRICA
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 BACKGROUND
1.3 MOTIVATION FOR THE RESEARCH
1.4 CONTRIBUTION TO THE DISCIPLINE OF GEOGRAPHY
1.5 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.6 AIM OF THE RESEARCH
1.7 BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CONCEPTUAL AND CONTEXTUAL FRAMEWORKS AND CLARIFICATIONS
1.8 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
1.9 QUALITATIVE APPROACH
1.10 JUSTIFICATION OF A HUMANISTIC APPROACH
1.11 DATA GATHERING AND ANALYSIS
1.12 STRUCTURE OF THE STUDY
1.13 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 2: CONTEXTUALISATION AND CONCEPTUALISATION
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 CONTEXTUALISATON OF AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS
2.3 THEORISING AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS AS THE THREATENING OTHER
2.4 DECONSTRUCTION
2.5 RESEARCH PARADIGMS
2.6 A HUMANISTIC GEOGRAPHIC AND CRITICAL REALIST APPROACH
2.7. METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH ADOPTED
2.8 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 3: MIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION TRAJECTORIES
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 PRE-1994 IMMIGRATION TRAJECTORIES
3.3 POST-1994 IMMIGRANT INFLUX AND THE XENOPHOBIA DISCOURSE
3.4 URBAN INFORMALITY AND AFRICAN IMMIGRANT TRADERS
3.5 AFRICAN IMMIGRANT TRADERS IN THE JOHANNESBURG INNER CITY
3.6 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 4: THE RESEARCH PROCESS
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 STUDY AREA
4.3 UNITS OF ANALYSIS
4.4 SAMPLE POPULATION
4.5 ETHICAL ISSUES
4.6 ANALYSIS OF DATA
4.7 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF QUALITATIVE DATA
4.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
4.9 THE RESEARCHER’S ROLE
4.10 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 5: AFRICAN IMMIGRANT TRADERS IN THE JOHANNESBURG INNER CITY
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 Reasons for migration to South Africa
5.3 GENDER PROFILES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS
5.4 EXPERIENCE OF DISCRIMINATION, HOSTILITY AND XENOPHOBIA.114
5.5 AFRICAN IMMIGRANT TRADERS IN THE JOHANNESBURG INNER CITY
5.6 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 6: AFRICAN IMMIGRANT TRADERS` CONTRIBUTION TO THE JOHANNESBURG INNER CITY
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 EMPLOYMENT CREATION AND TAKING AWAY JOBS
6.3 CONTRIBUTION TO THE ACHIEVEMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT GOALS
6.4 REVENUE GENERATION AND SUPPORT FOR THE FORMAL ECONOMY
6.5 PROVISION OF CHOICE FOR CONSUMERS
6.6 REVITALISING THE JOHANNESBURG INNER CITY
6.7 TRANSNATIONAL CHARACTER OF AFRICAN IMMIGRANT TRADERS
6.8 UNPRODUCTIVE AND DESTRUCTIVE TRADERS
6.9 SPREAD OF DISEASE
6.10 TAKING OVER THE JOHANNESBURG INNER CITY: BURDEN ON INFRASTRUCTURE
6.11 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 7: A CRITICAL DISCOURSE
7.1 INTRODUCTION
7.2 REINTERPRETING THE HIERARCHY
7.3 TRACING WHAT IS NOT SAID
7.4 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 8: FINDING NEW PERSPECTIVES
8.1 INTRODUCTION
8.2 FINDING NEW PERSPECTIVES
8.3 RECOMMENDATIONS
8.4 POSSIBLE AREAS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
8.5 CONTRIBUTION TO THE DISCIPLINE OF GEOGRAPHY
8.6 CONCLUSION
REFERENCES
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