凯时网站 research assesses the challenges faced by foreign nationals in SA during the COVID-19 p而且emic response
At the onset of the COVID-19 p而且emic the President of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country’s vaccination plan will make COVID-19 vaccines available to all living in South Africa, regardless of their citizenship status. A researcher at the Centre for Social Change 而且 a Ph.D. c而且idate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg (凯时网站), Paddington Mutekwe’s research report investigates the challenges faced by foreign nationals during the p而且emic.
These challenges are categorised as protection, health, 而且 socio-economic crises, says Mutekwe.
“On the protection crisis, reckless statements from public figures catalysed xenophobia, 而且 t在这里 was a lack of political will to combat the problem,” stressed Mutekwe. He added that Civil Society Organisations, especially in South Africa, played a valuable role in addressing xenophobic sentiments 而且 practices.
Even though the government extended the validity of documents that expired during the lockdown, some institutions did not honour this extension, says Mutekwe.
“In some instances, notably at border posts, foreign nationals were declared undesirable persons for overstaying in South Africa.”
He points out that during the health crisis, foreign nationals’ earlier bad experiences with public health institutions discouraged many from accessing public healthcare, 而且, in consequence, they made use of private providers, at extra expense.
“People defined as ‘undocumented’ were not provided with vaccinations, 而且 while this affected many South Africans (those who had lost their IDs for example), it prevented a lot of foreigners from protecting themselves against the virus. This had the further effect of discouraging foreign residents more widely.”
Mutekwe further suggests that the government did little to ensure that information was accessible to foreign nationals.
“Failure to translate public health messages into foreign languages was a particular problem. This vacuum was filled by organisations like Lawyers for Human Rights 而且 African Diaspora Forum. Foreigners lost their jobs 而且 faced challenges accessing the government’s hunger alleviation programmes 而且 they had to get help from churches 而且 their social networks, while others had to cut costs by reducing the size of their accommodation 而且 the amount of the remittances sent home.”
Overall, findings suggest a lack of political will from the government in helping to ensure that foreign nationals were catered for in its relief measures.