Press Release: Battle over Makhaya Migrant Award reaches court
Published by Legal Resources Centre 22 March 2018
For Immediate Release: 22 March 2018
On 27 February 2018, the Khulumani Support Group, represented by the Legal Resources Centre in Makhanda instituted proceedings in the Makhanda High Court to compel the Minister of Home Affairs to award the 2015 Mkhaya Migrant Award for the “Most Integrated Community” to Mr Mbulelo Lipile, the chairperson of the Makhanda Foreign Shop Owners’ Dialogue.
The Mkhaya Migrant Awards were launched in 2015 by the Minister of Home Affairs in an effort to address xenophobic violence against foreign migrants in South Africa and honour the valuable work done by the migrant community. Khulumani Support Group nominated Mbulelo Lipile, the founder of the Makhanda Foreign Shop Owners’ Dialogue Platform, in the category of “Most Integrated Community”. The nomination was motivated by Mr Lipile’s efforts to secure a peaceful co-existence among local and foreign shop owners based on civic agreements forged amongst all role-players and witnessed by local SAPS officers.
The Forum spearheaded an initiative that demonstrated the spirit of inclusiveness towards migrants and foreign nationals by actively promoting tolerance, integration, unity and social cohesion. In response to xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals who owned spaza shops in Makhanda, the Forum aided in resolving conflicts between the local and foreign spaza shop owners as well as conflicts between shop owners and the local community. The impact of the Forum was significant in Makhanda and the model was viewed by the Eastern Cape SAPS as the best model to be replicated in other troubled areas in the province.
Although Mr Lipile’s nomination was accepted as the winning nomination, the Minister of Home Affairs decided to award the prize to Makana Municipality on behalf of the Makana community.
The prize, which consists of a trophy and R100 000 was awarded to the previous mayor of Makana, Mr Zamaxolo Peter, at an award ceremony in 2015. Although the trophy has been handed over, the R100 000 prize money has not been paid. The application is to compel the Minister of Home Affairs to award the prize to the rightful winner and pay the award of R100 000 to the Khulumani Support Group which will assist in advancing the work of the Forum.
Should the application of Khulumani Support Group and Mr Lipile be successful, it will assist immensely in advancing the work of the Forum and preventing xenophobic violence in the Makhanda area.