By any other name, xenophobia still as foul

The Western Cape’s Minister of Social Development, Patricia de Lille, was the keynote speaker at the province’s Annual Liquor Conference on Saturday. She threw her support behind the efforts of the Western Cape Liquor Authority to curb alcohol abuse. These efforts include an amendment to the Western Cape Liquor Act and new zoning regulations which affect liquor trading hours and the granting of liquor trading licences.

Western Cape and Khayelitsha shabeen associations protest outside Annual Liquor Conference

Outside the conference, the Western Cape and Khayelitsha shebeen associations protested against the zoning regulations, which require that shebeens operate only in areas zoned for business – somewhat of an impossibility given their very nature. Even stranger yet, the protesters held up placards, which were fittingly nothing more than reused beer boxes, calling for the “profiling” of Somalis. When I asked one of protesters what they meant by profiling, he said that they wanted the government and police to stop Somalis from operating businesses in the townships. He seemed unsure when I asked why and repeated his assertion, “no Somalis”.

The protesters handed over a memorandum to De Lille and MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Social Development, Alan Winde. The memorandum was signed as “accepted unread”, but in a country whose leadership seem more concerned about reputation rather than addressing the problem of xenophobia head-on, one is only left to wonder what De Lille and Winde will do when, while leisurely perusing the memorandum, they come across the no Somalis demand.

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