The coalition of civil society organisations took to the streets in the Johannesburg city centre at the weekend where they marched against xenophobia and Operation Dudula.
Responding to their calls for the resignation of Motsoaledi, Baloyi said: “One of the beauties of living in a democratic state is freedom of speech. They have the right to protest and express their dissatisfaction and the same applies to us, those of us who don’t share their views. We can happily tell them they are mad”.
Speaking at the march, a member of Kopanang Africa blamed the government for a lack of job and economic opportunities, adding the group was dissatisfied with the state’s response to attacks on foreigners.
“We need to know who to blame for unemployment, crime and electricity cuts in our society. The problems we have are ones that were made under the [Covid-19] pandemic. They introduced measures in which poor people suffered. They introduced measures that increased crime and unemployment. It was not black people who did that, it was the government.”
Makhosazana Mkhatshwa from the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) said foreigners suffered from “medical xenophobia” and were discriminated against at clinics.
“You hear people complaining that there are too many foreign nationals at clinics, but the issue is that government is not providing the services. People are frustrated. You wouldn’t notice that there are foreign nationals in the queue if you had the services,” she said.
Motsoaledi told SowetanLIVE’s sister publication the Sunday Times the demands made by foreigners on the SA government were unreasonable.
“Of course we are being abused, there is no question about that. The things that are being demanded of us and happening here would never happen anywhere else.
“Our undoing, as SA, is that we said we live well with our neighbours and did not put them in camps. Instead of being praised we are said to be xenophobic. We don’t put anybody in a camp.”